City of Vancouver creating arts and culture policy council
Vancouver city council has okayed the establishment of an arts and culture policy council. The committee, which was approved at a council meeting today (February 28), will provide advice to council and staff on matters including civic programs, services, and public outreach.
“We’re very strongly committed to making sure this committee, which will be a high-functioning committee, will be able to make recommendations to us about policy, and we’ll be listening to them,” said Coun. Heather Deal, who put forward a motion in July 2011 that initiated the creation of the committee. “They’re going to have a very important voice at the city.”
The city’s public-art committee is to be incorporated as a subcommittee of the new advisory committee. The Vancouver Civic Theatres Board will remain as it is during the current civic-theatres review and strategic plan. The future of other arts-related committees, such as the Hastings Park Open Space Advisory Group, will be decided by the new arts and culture policy council at a later date.
Rob Gloor, executive director of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, said he welcomed the new committee.
“Vancouver arts organizations and individual artists will have a little bit more direct voice through to council if there’s a committee dedicated to understanding these issues,” he said. “Exactly how it will work remains to be seen, because the advisory committee isn’t set up to make specific decisions on things like grant processes. That wouldn’t be effective anyway. But it is there to be a conduit between the community and council on this issue where there hasn’t been one committee dedicated to that purpose.”
City staff members are to put out a call for nominations to the new committee, which will have up to 13 voting members, as well as a nonvoting council liaison and nonvoting staff liaisons. It will meet six times per year.
One of the first items on the committee’s table will be to examine how public-art funding at the city is to be restructured.
“One of the options is to take funds that come in from developers and funds from the city and put it into a foundation site account, and then promote other people making donations into that account,” noted Deal. “For instance, in Collingwood there’s a lot of artists there, there’s no public art there. If we identify a great site, it might help do some fundraising for a piece for that site.”