Candidate: Rita Ossington
Position: Deputy Mayor
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
There are many proven opportunities based on the determination and dedication of the people in this mostly not-for-profit and artist based sector. Developing a unified voice to represent this sector of the economy without prejudice or politics, based on collaboration through the Arts Council, Heritage & Cultural groups and financially supported by the Development Commission and Tourism, is an opportunity worth developing. The Development Commission and Tourism bodies are already supported by the entire region and well placed to grow this sector. Grants are an opportunity that exists already however there is a need for long term sustainable organizational support.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
Our public & private education systems, the existing groups and their encouragement of entrepreneurs provides opportunities to grow, attract and retain artists. Providing resources through the Development Commission and Tourism to create a stable financial body to support these opportunities and promote them will go a long way.
What role do you see for arts and culture in the promotion of the region both as a destination for tourists and as a place of permanent residence for youth, families, and retirees?
A strong and vibrant arts and culture community creates a desire stay, to belong….to live and to visit. Our public art invites us to enjoy the creativity of others combined with our rich history that is being preserved tells the great story of Windsor and Essex County. Our live theatre groups, symphony, music culture, museums, etc. has created a great destination for all.
In what other ways could you use your position as an elected official to help support the arts, culture and heritage sector outside of using municipal funding?
This does go back to my first answer. Having both Tourism and the Economic Development Commission support this sector with sustainable financial funds along with arts grants to help the grass roots organizations concentrate on their work and not on raising money to stay alive would sustain the sector. The City and County already support these two organizations.
What is your perspective on the best ways to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure sustainability and growth for the cultural sector of our community?
This too goes back to question one. Developing a unified voice to represent this sector of the economy without prejudice or politics. Placing the responsibility of developing a strong sector under the umbrella of the Economic Development and tourism to ensure sustainability and growth
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
My background is in Tourism and I was involved for many years promoting this region as a Premier Tourist Destination at the regional level. In my community I am on the Culture & Arts Committee, Heritage Advisory Committee, A board member of Tecumseh Area Historical Society. I spent close to 40 years producing and promoting festivals and events. My leisure is spent supporting events, local musicians and encouraging our young & mature artists from all genre and walks of life.