A city-sponsored open house and community forum on arts, culture and the economy June 27 at White Rock Community Centre was sparsely-attended.
But the 30 who participated in the forum segment produced good discussion, according to Mayor Wayne Baldwin.
“The ideas were good, really good,” Baldwin said following the event, noting contributions from artist and arts advocate Chris MacClure and an impassioned statement from Semiahmoo First Nation Counc. Joanne Charles about the importance of First Nations art.
Noting fewer numbers than at previous forums on the topic, Baldwin described the input as “more focused and more specialized” than the other events.
“I would not have expected the same turnout,” he said.
The open house also resulted in the distribution of a city survey seeking input specifically on ways in which the arts and culture can benefit White Rock’s economy.
“We’ve had a lot come back from it, and the survey can still be completed by residents online until July 9,” said city clerk Tracey Arthur.
She said the intention of the open house was to enhance information gathered for the city for the Arts and Culture Mapping Project by Deirdre Goudriaan of B.C. Healthy Communities, which included an initial discussion on arts and culture in 2010, interviews with arts stakeholders and a series of arts and culture ‘cafés’ last year.
“That was done a while ago and the new council felt it needed more direction and would reach out to the public. All of the information (in Goudriaan’s reports) will be considered and brought forward.”
Forum facilitator Judy McLeod’s report to the city’s Arts Economic Task Force is expected this fall, Baldwin said.
“It will probably be part of our discussion of strategic goals for next year,” he added.
Among those attending were some familiar players in the local art scene, including Pauline Dutkowski (convenor of last year’s Outside The Box fibre art festival); artist and exhibition organizer, Alicia Ballard; Royal Canadian Theatre Company artistic director, Ellie King; artist Ann Taylor; White Rock Library supervisor, Lucinda Lyall; and Barbara Cooper, president of Semiahmoo Arts.
Among those also representing the city were Couns. Larry Robinson, Louise Hutchinson, Grant Mayer and Al Campbell.
White Rock youth band Collect Call was among buskers who added live music throughout the open house.