Regarding the article about the city’s budget decisions, I am hoping to clear up some confusion about the arts sector requests. There were not two groups vying for funding to create a Cultural Master Plan. The Arts Council has been asking the city for five years to embark on such a plan, and we were hopeful the city would make it a priority this year. The timing was good, as an excellent consultant, Patricia Huntsman, was available and willing to lead it. She visited Salmon Arm and presented a proposal to council last August. The Arts Council is in a great position to support this process, being able to provide a facility for community meetings, some research abilities and of course a whole list of contacts for groups and individuals in the cultural sector. The Arts Council’s request to the city was an increase that would cover a portion of our new Education Coordinator position, as well as resource support for the Cultural Master Plan process.
It appears some people got the idea that a Cultural Master Plan is a feasibility study, which it is not, and thereby connected it with the performing arts society and their goal of building a performing arts centre. This is unfortunate because a Cultural Master Plan is for the whole community, dealing with public art, creative place-making, venue development, innovation in workspaces, asset management and attraction and retention of the creative class. We should not ignore those things and focus on one facility that may or may not be feasible in Salmon Arm.
It is important to note the Arts Council is not against a performing arts centre, and in fact this organization fully supports cultural development in all forms. It’s mandate is to look at the big picture and meet the needs of this ever-changing community, as it has for the last 44 years, and will continue to do well into the future.
Director/Curator Salmon Arm Arts Centre & Art Gallery