Discussions will shape cultural landscape

There is a very important round of discussions happening in Summerland these days.

There is a very important round of discussions happening in Summerland these days and there’s a pretty good chance at least one of them is going to involve something you care about.

The Summerland Cultural Plan task force is hosting a series of conversations in and around Summerland to help shape the cultural landscape of our town and they’re seeking input from the community to help figure out the strengths, weaknesses or even areas that you feel have fallen by the wayside or are simply not present.

This is a great opportunity for those who have no vested interest in a part of Summerland’s cultural scene beyond being patrons to speak up and let their voices be heard about how they feel about the cultural scene in Summerland today and where they would like to see it grow.

The working definition of culture being used by the task force is, in their own words, pretty broad, which is a great thing to see.

It’s providing Summerland a chance to not just talk about culture from an artistic point of view, although that opportunity is being provided, but also a chance to talk about things that fall outside of the normal conversations that surround culture.

Conversation topics include: multiculturalism, visual and performing arts, literary arts, youth, seniors and festivals and events among other things and more sessions will be announced down the road.

The conversations will be focused around three questions:  1. What is working well as part of the cultural fabric in Summerland? What needs to be improved? 2. Where do we want to go with culture in Summerland? What would make a difference? 3. How do we get there? What resources do we need to achieve our goals?

I think this is a unique opportunity for the people of Summerland to help shape the culture of their town.

I’ve lived in quite a few places over the years and not once have I ever seen an open invitation go out to the general public like this. There’s certainly a few discussions I plan on sitting in on, not just as someone with a vested interest in the arts, but also as someone who likes to see cultural things happen around me.  It’s great to think that, by answering a few simple questions, I can help guide the direction of arts and culture in community.

I encourage anyone who feels that something is lacking, could use some tweaking or is perfect the way it is, to get out there and let your opinions be known.

Douglas Paton is a Summerland writer and musician. If you know of a local arts and culture event, contact him at dgpaton80@gmail.com.