When thinking about Canada’s arts and cultural capitals, I wouldn’t blame someone for turning their thoughts towards Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Ottawa, but the Edmonton Arts Council hopes to change that as they have drafted a new culture policy for Alberta’s capital city in a new report titled “THE ART OF LIVING – A plan for securing the future of arts and heritage in the city of Edmonton 2008-2018.” The report was submitted to Edmonton City Council last week and begins by recognizing why a new and strong arts and culture policy is important for Edmonton:
The need for a cultural plan for the City of Edmonton was first discussed at Edmonton City Council in December 2005 during the debate and approval of the 2006 City of Edmonton operating budget. This need for a unified and wide-ranging cultural plan for the City was spurred by:
• an ever-increasing realization of the importance of arts, heritage and culture to the city.
• an acceptance that the City has key responsibilities in arts, heritage and culture.
• an appreciation that the sector is becoming increasingly complex.
• an awareness that the current economic boom in Alberta has increased the pace of development in Edmonton and emphasized the need to be proactive in many areas, including arts, heritage and culture.
The report also includes testimonials and stories of support from Edmonton arts supporters ranging from Jeanne Lougheed, Todd Babiak, Terry Wickham, Ken Chapman, Greg Hollingshead, Marilyn Dumont, and fellow-former Morinville-ite Marty Chan.
With the Spring Session of the Alberta Legislature starting today, I would hope that Tory Premier Ed Stelmach and Culture and Community Spirit Minister Lindsay Blackett (Calgary-North West) take a serious look at this policy recommendation.