City of Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison, chair of the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, Bill Laird and co-chair of the Shuswap District Arts Council, Delores Mori sign a tripartite agreement Aug. 30 to lead the implementation of Alive with the Arts, Salmon Arm’s cultural plan. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

City of Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison, chair of the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, Bill Laird and co-chair of the Shuswap District Arts Council, Delores Mori sign a tripartite agreement Aug. 30 to lead the implementation of Alive with the Arts, Salmon Arm’s cultural plan. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

‘Such a big deal’: Three key Salmon Arm groups commit to making culture count

Agreement signed to help make culture play bigger role in economic development, social planning

Arts and culture stepped into the spotlight Aug. 30, as three key groups signed an agreement to lead the implementation of Alive with the Arts, Salmon Arm’s cultural plan.

Putting pen to paper in front of the Salmon Arm Arts Centre were Mayor Alan Harrison on behalf of the City of Salmon Arm, Bill Laird, chair of the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, and Delores Mori, co-chair of the Shuswap District Arts Council.

Tracey Kutschker, director/curator of the Salmon Arm Arts Centre, spoke to the significance of the action.

“This is such a big deal,” she said. “What we’re doing is we’re making a commitment so that this plan doesn’t sit on a shelf. This plan continues to move forward because we have the collaborative commitment of each of these organizations as well as a large community of stakeholders and, just generally, interested people that will keep it moving forward.”

She explained that in 2015 the journey began to discover how culture could play a more active role in Salmon Arm’s economic development and social planning.

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond was thanked both by Kutschker and Mayor Harrison for her leadership and work in creating the cultural master plan.

“With the support of city council we established a task force and we invited stakeholders from all the cultural sectors and we benefited greatly from the guidance of Councillor Louise Wallace Richmond, who helped us imagine a framework where public spaces, art, design and cultural assets could come together into a cohesive plan for our community,” Kutschker said.

Harrison added his appreciation for her efforts.

“I’m not sure it would have happened without you, Louise, so thank you so much for your work. The community will be better because of what you did.”

Fittingly, Neskonlith councillor and knowledge keeper Louis Thomas, who spoke in Secwepemctsin, opened the signing ceremony. The cultural plan begins with acknowledgement of Secwépemc territory as well as a recognition.

“We recognize the guidance and wisdom of Neskonlith knowledge-sharers as we learn and listen in Truth and Reconciliation,” the plan states.

Thomas noted there is a lot of work to be done and “I hope we’re all successful in doing it.”

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Also speaking were Bill Laird, as well as the city’s acting chief administrative officer Erin Jackson and economic development manager Lana Fitt.

Laird expressed appreciation for the 68-page plan, while Jackson and Fitt outlined next steps.

Jackson said representatives of the three organizations will meet quarterly to plan work and implement projects that align with the strategy. They will also hold an annual planning meeting with stakeholders to discuss priority projects as well as communicating regularly with the entire community to build awareness about the importance of arts and culture.

Fitt said the cultural plan aligns with economic development’s goals and will help the organization to attract and retain investment and talent, and to move its economic goals forward.

She pointed to plans to install new wayfinding signage in the community as well as identifying and marketing distinct cultural areas, with options such as the arts and entertainment district or the recreation district.

The cultural master plan, which outlines a vision for the community as well as five ways to achieve its goals, can be found on the city’s website at www.salmonarm.ca.

Kutschker concluded by speaking about the value and purpose of public art.

“Public art gives people in a community a sense of their own history. It’s like having a collective memory. Public art makes people think, it makes children ask questions. It makes strangers talk to each other. It actually helps people put down roots in a community. Public art can be anything from war memorials to a 40-foot tile mosaic in the Ross Street Plaza to really innovative seating…,” she said.

“It can address community problems, it can help us remember our ancestors, it can mark important milestones in a community.”


martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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Tracey Kutschker looks on as Neskonlith councillor and knowledge keeper Louis Thomas opens the signing ceremony Aug. 30 of the tripartite agreement to lead the implementation of Alive with the Arts, Salmon Arm’s cultural plan. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Tracey Kutschker looks on as Neskonlith councillor and knowledge keeper Louis Thomas opens the signing ceremony Aug. 30 of the tripartite agreement to lead the implementation of Alive with the Arts, Salmon Arm’s cultural plan. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)