During my time on City Council, I have tirelessly championed Calgary’s arts and culture. Investment in the arts and culture sector has proven to provide social and economic benefits. Arts and culture enrich our lives and our experiences; connect us to our history, community, and humanity; and are an integral part of Calgary’s high quality of life. Arts and culture enliven the very fabric of a city, attracting creative talent and raising Calgary’s profile on the global stage.
I was, and continue to be, a strong advocate for critical initiatives such as Calgary’s Civic Arts Policy, and for the development of sustainable funding models for arts organizations. One project I am especially proud of: I fought to save the historic Lougheed building, which paved the way for Theatre Junction to purchase and save The Grand Theatre. I have also championed the Utility Box Art program, Community Murals, and public art. Most recently, I spearheaded the ActivateYYC microgrants program, which is resulting in dozens of creative citizen-led placemaking projects that make neighbourhoods not only more vibrant, but safer.
In tight times, it’s tempting for some to cut arts funding to the bone. This would be a mistake—and a serious economic miscalculation. Arts and culture not only enrich the lives of Calgarians, they are also crucial to attracting and retaining talent, a global workforce, and emerging industries. No company wants to locate in a cultural wasteland.
I will continue to advocate for investment in the arts, to continue to build a great and culturally rich city, and a desirable destination.