I am saddened and frustrated when I hear short-sighted and uninformed comments about money and support for the arts being an unnecessary waste in Abbotsford. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The arts are a critical element in the development and maintenance of a vibrant, healthy community. The arts define a community’s identity, provide a legacy for tomorrow and honour the historic and cultural makeup of its citizens.
The arts offer opportunities to engage citizens as creators and audiences for the enrichment and development of all.
The arts have the ability to break down barriers, cultivate a celebration of diversity, and build bridges and understanding between disparate groups.
The arts attract visitors and tourism dollars, and act as an ambassador for a community when those visitors return to their part of the globe.
The arts help set the tone for the urban landscape and cultivate civic pride.
The arts contribute substantial economic benefits, both directly and through spin-off business, thereby helping to ensure an economically vibrant and sustainable future for our city.
While much of the visual and performing art going’s-on in our town are privately operated, there is a responsibility of municipal government to cultivate the arts as part of its community stewardship toward a vibrant and healthy community.
With the arts being historically an undervalued sector in this town, it’s time for anyone who sees the value of the arts to stand up and be counted. Be one of the many citizens of Abbotsford requesting municipal budget allocation, planning and policy support for the arts in this community.