Questions raised about future of arts

The Summerland Community Arts Council was compelled earlier this year to move from our home of 16 years to a new and temporary location.

As many readers know the Summerland Community Arts Council was compelled earlier this year to move from our home of 16 years to a new and temporary location.

Although our new home is street level and in a higher traffic part of Main Street, it is smaller than our previous location.

This has already resulted in the loss of the artist-in-residence program and has impacted the number of member groups who can use the facility.

We are no longer able to hold two consecutive events in the space at the same time and this limits our capacity.

In addition, the Art Gallery portion of the building is both smaller and lacks the track lighting found in other art galleries.

This will impact the types and quality of future shows.

The smaller amount of storage space has meant that the permanent art collection, comprising a wide range of works by local Summerland artists past and present, is now in temporary storage at the Penticton Art Gallery.

For this we are most grateful to our friends and colleagues at the Penticton Art Gallery, but hope to have it back to enjoy at some time in the future.

In order to generate discussion about the future of the arts in Summerland and in particular the presence of an art gallery, the annual street banner program, workshops for children and adults and the popular Summer Art Program, we asked all the candidates seeking office in Summerland the following questions.

We have posted their responses to our website at summerlandarts.com and to Facebook.com/SummerlandArts.

We invite all Summerlanders to join this discussion regarding the value and importance of arts and culture in our community.

o What do you believe are the most important cultural assets in Summerland?

o What makes Summerland culturally distinct and what would you like to see done to promote and enhance Summerland’s cultural identity?

o Municipal arts funding is often key to maintaining a thriving creative cultural community, attractive to residents and tourists alike.  Do you agree or disagree?

o Many towns and cities have a per capita funding formula for arts and culture. Do you think this is a good idea, or do you have other ideas for approaching the issue of municipal arts funding in Summerland?

o Arts and culture are a key part of the tourism industry, and the economic impact of cultural tourism is substantial. Since cultural tourists tend to spend more and stay longer, do you think that a portion of the funding used to promote tourism should be controlled by an arts and culture umbrella organization?

This Arts Palette column is written by David Finnis, publicity chair and president of the Summerland Community Arts Council, P.O. Box 1217, 9908 Main St., Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0.