In collaboration with wearts.ca, Judith Marcuse and Nicole Armos created this engaging and colourful report on arts-based public consultation to develop an arts and culture policy for Vancouver's West End.
Arts and culture are essential elements of healthy, vibrant and inclusive communities. Engagement with the arts provides opportunities for neighbours to connect with each other; provides vehicles for individual and collective expression; encourages tourism; and strengthens local economies. The arts celebrate identity and contribute to the well being and inclusion of both residents and visitors.
Vancouver’s West End is one of Vancouver’s most densely populated neighbourhoods, with one of the City’s largest concentrations of arts and cultural workers. It is home to iconic cultural events such as the Pride Parade and the Celebration of Light. However, opportunities to engage in art- making and to showcase local professional and community arts events, programs and products are limited.
In response to this situation, local residents, businesses, artists and community groups came together to form WE Arts, a volunteer community arts group committed to building a strong arts presence and creative economy in the West End. This plan identifies the community’s short and long-term priorities for the development of their arts and culture sector, and provides a framework and recommended action items for realizing these goals. The recommendations presented here were developed through a three-part public consultation process hosted by WE Arts from February to May 2015, as well as monthly meetings of a very dedicated core volunteer committee.
In the first public consultation, community members engaged in music, movement, and visual arts workshops to help envision their ideal arts and culture scene, resulting in a wide range of proposed activities, events, amenities, and facilities*. In the second consultation, participants prioritized these ideas into recommendations for long-term and short-term goals, and formed committees to begin mobilizing around the top seven priority areas determined in that workshop. Finally, in the third consultation, community members were able to review and provide feedback on a working draft of the recommendations along with strategies for moving them forward.