Candidate: Tom Hensel
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
We’ve got some amazing talent here in Windsor, whether it’s our local bands, symphony and music scene, world class painters and artists, authors and poets, museums, heritage sites, or world renowned sculpture garden, to name just a few of our strengths. I think we have a tremendous opportunity to share our rich cultural and artistic diversity with each other, and with the world, and with continued support of the arts, I look forward to sharing in the rich legacy of arts and culture with our community and visitors.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
I’d like to our libraries and schools to be able to offer more creative spaces that encourage, support, and foster artistic collaboration and foster cultural enrichment by supporting our local arts community with the resources they need – whether it’s employment opportunities, access to public spaces, funding, and promotion of our amazing art shows, plays, musical productions, or showcase events.
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?
Windsor is the place to be for concerts, book festivals, and culture and we can do a lot more to promote and attract tourism, visitors, and prospective residents by reaching out to other communities near and far, partnering internationally with other arts and cultural centres, and by creating an “arts friendly” environment that fosters a love and appreciation for our unique cultural diversity.
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?
I’d like to see more support from the corporate sector – sponsorships, funding, and promotion – and as mayor, I think we can establish good relationships with interested, responsible, partners who would be passionate about supporting the arts – and as mayor, I’ll explore those partnerships vigorously.
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?
I believe that we have a number of effective ways to collaborate with the province and federal government – whether it’s through Ministry channels, program administrators, or through our local representatives at Queens Park or in Ottawa. We need a powerful and persistent voice that will keep arts and culture on the agenda, and I’m committed to doing so.
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
I’m a big fan of the WSO, and the AGO here in Windsor, and like many of us here in Windsor, I have respect and appreciation for the wonderful array of heritage buildings that our city has to offer – whether it’s Willistead Manor in Walkerville, the Baby House in Sandwich Town, MacKenzie Hall, or the Ojibway Prairie lands, preserving our cultural heritage and exploring our history continues to enrich my life living here as a resident in Windsor.