Elizabeth Ball: Vancouver council dedicated to arts will lead way to magnificent city

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      Working on city council is a privilege and provides a unique education in civic needs, values, and communities.

      Vancouver is a remarkably beautiful city, and beyond that celebrated beauty is a community filled with talents both world-renowned and locally beloved. I have worked as a professional artist, arts administrator, and advocate for over 30 years. I found that as the first professional artist ever elected to a city council, I was able to bring an in-depth knowledge of arts, culture, and heritage issues to the council during my term from 2005 to 2008.

      Cultural industries and nonprofit organizations are critically important economic generators for the city. They contribute immeasurably and measurably to the quality of life in our city, and it is indeed rare for a council to obtain unfiltered information in order to make the best decisions regarding those institutions.

      Having worked in major cities like New York and London, I was able to bring new ideas forward, such as the poet laureate and Vancouver 125 anniversary celebration, as well as champion and support local innovation though the Junos and the Police and Fire Games. Gaining support for the arts at a regional level is critical, and we achieved that with the formation of the inaugural arts and culture committee for Metro Vancouver.

      Arts, culture, and heritage issues affect every corner of our lives. Their depth of reach is astounding from education to eco-art, from architecture to community arts.

      My experience in the professional theatre as founder and artistic managing director for Carousel Theatre Company and School made me hugely aware of the many needs of families and children in our community. Building theatres made me aware of development issues and the need for amenities in a growing city. Arts organizations are the original green industries; reuse and recycle being the by-words for every performing arts group. Working in constant collaboration as most performing artists do taught me the skills of negotiation and teamwork, both of which I brought to city council.

      Understanding the need for both the ability to listen and a creative vision on council, I was able to initiate successful programs with increased funding, and to encourage and find support for good ideas direct from the community like the Mayor’s Arts Awards.

      I was able to bring cultural concerns to the table at every possible instance thereby bringing attention and vastly increased civic investment in arts, culture, heritage and tourism programming.

      Vancouver needs genuinely informed councillors to make intelligent decisions regarding arts and cultural spaces. I have spent over three decades dealing with these challenging issues. My knowledge, gleaned both as a working artist and as a board member, proved hugely important to both council and staff. The ability to positively negotiate on behalf of the city with other levels of government led to new program and capital funding, an example being the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. We desperately need that negotiation now.

      In order for our cultural organizations to flourish, they need stability, multi-year funding decisions, programs that support multicultural and First Nations programs, and a determined creativity in all decisions that affect the daily business of an artistic organization.

      I want to create a new council truly dedicated to the arts as an integral part of city life. A truly successful council will be informed, genuinely passionate, and supportive of arts and ideas. This council will lead the way to a magnificent city.

      Elizabeth Ball is a Non-Partisan Association candidate for Vancouver city council.




      Nov 1, 2011 at 5:59pm

      What a pile of garbage this is!

      D S

      Nov 1, 2011 at 6:38pm

      What passes for art in this city is nothing more than hipster bs. The vancouver art gallery is a joke.

      East Van Arts

      Nov 1, 2011 at 10:15pm

      So, Elizabeth, if you could do all of these things, why is the historic Pantages Theatre a pile of rubble today?

      You had a chance to save it, and you blew it. Not very impressive, I'd hold.


      Nov 1, 2011 at 10:38pm

      funny that Elizabeth Ball doesn't care about the biggest obstacle to having a thriving arts and culture scene, and that is artist's need affordable housing...
      there's nowhere to live for artist's in Vancouver., Elizabeth Ball is just another elitest who wants to make Vancouver a town only for the rich


      Nov 2, 2011 at 8:10am

      East Van Arts - there was a deal under the previous NPA administration to save the Pantages. Gregor & Vision Vancouver revoked the heritage density transfer program and doomed the theatre.

      reality check

      Nov 2, 2011 at 11:41am

      Really, with all the problems this city faces, she thinks "arts" will save us?


      Nov 2, 2011 at 12:31pm

      She has done nothing for a thriving arts and culture scene to date. The fact that there is any film industry, arts or culture is in spite of her, not because of her.


      Nov 2, 2011 at 1:34pm

      @realitycheck, that seems a little over the top. She did run a theater school for years.

      C, Van Ihinger

      Nov 2, 2011 at 2:02pm

      Ms. Ball is correct to support heritage issues, since once a bit of our heritage is allowed to disappear, it stays disappeared.

      Arts funding, in particular at the primary and secondary school level, is also a wise investment that should not be allowed to disappear.

      As for arts and cultural issues that are already well supported in the commercial marketplace, we believe our municipal gummermints should focus their efforts and our tax dollars on the other end of the cultural spectrum - for example the ongoing social problems that make the Downtown Eastside the Downtown Eastside.

      Fed Up

      Nov 4, 2011 at 10:05am

      If the Great Pumkin ever had a child Ball is it. I wouldn't let her run a popsicle stand