Consider value of arts and culture

We ask that the benefits to our vibrant arts and culture community and the Cowichan Valley do not get lost

Re: Alternate Approval Process for the arts

We get it; no one likes AAPs. Referendums are unpopular, too. But we ask that the benefits to our vibrant arts and culture community and the Cowichan Valley do not get lost in a discussion of these processes.

The Cowichan Valley lacks a public art gallery enjoyed by many other jurisdictions. What we have are public art outlets, run by three arts councils — Cowichan Valley Arts Council (CVAC), Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society and the Ladysmith Arts Council Waterfront Art Gallery.

Of CVAC’s members, 45 per cent live outside of Duncan, as do 80 per cent of our volunteers. The three arts councils’ volunteers annually donate almost 20,000 hours to the region. They provide exposure for artists, gallery-like outlets for the public, and contribute to the economic engine for local businesses.

Each arts council is also very active in community outreach. Recent CVAC collaborations (free art exhibition in the PORTALS user space or assistance with a project):

• Providence Farm (exhibition)

• Cowichan Women Against Violence Society (exhibition)

• Clements Centre (Open Heart Art and All Fired Up show)

• City of Duncan Perpetual Arts Trophy

• A First Nations art exhibition during Aboriginal Month

• Lake Cowichan Summer Nights program

• Somenos Marsh Society’s WildWings Festival

• Island Savings Centre, the Kids’ Summer Arts Camp (in PORTALS)

• Cowichan Valley Open Learning Centre (exhibition)

• CVAC’s Youth Outreach Program provides a two-year art mentorship and portfolio development for 15 senior high school students, generously partially funded by the TD Trust.

If the AAP passes, the Arts and Culture division manager would spend part of her existing time to launch important regional initiatives not under the purview of the arts councils. This would include management of modest grants-in-aid for arts and culture, that are already included in the CVRD’s annual regional grants-in-aid budget. Other initiatives, like developing a regional arts strategy, would be funded.

All combined, that amounts to 86 cents per $100,000 of property value. Where else could you get so much for an entire year, for about the price of one cup of premium coffee?


Gail Robertson, president

Cowichan Valley Arts Council