2020 Candidate Survey on the Arts

ProArt survey for candidates running the City of Victoria 2020 Municipal By-Election

Candidate name: Stephen Andrew Contact: [email protected]

Question 1. What benefits do the arts bring to our communities?

From a cultural perspective, it records and tells our stories and the overall inherent culture within our community. It shows us who we are, where we came from and enlightens our path forward.

Arts can provoke. When used constructively is can provide perspective on issues within our society in a way that open debate cannot.

Arts entertains and lifts our spirit. It opens our minds. And Arts comforts us when we are grieving.

Our lives would be so dull without the ability to congregate and share. One must only look at the anxiety of not being able to see a musical at the Royal Theatre, listen to Symphony Splash, participate in or watch a production from the Victoria Operatic Society or attend a festival of art.

Question 2. What role do you believe municipal governments should have in supporting the arts?

I wholeheartedly believe municipal governments should support the arts. As with other community contributions such as sport, festivals, and other services Arts needs to be adequately funded and supported so it grows. Support does not just mean funding, it means advocating for our community, so we have sufficient Arts venues, recognizing that an economic investment in locally created Art (including theatre, dance, music, visual art and beyond) returns far greater benefit than original investment. It means promoting the Arts and acknowledging they are an integral part of our lives.

And it means changing our view on the Arts. They are NOT a cost line item on a budget, they are an integral part of our community.

Question 3. Given that the City of Victoria is committed to investing in the CRD Arts & Culture Support Service, do you support its decision to contribute to the service? Why?

I came to Victoria directly to work in the arts. I know so many people who work in Arts and Culture and – I want to get a plug in here – my husband in artist Danny Everett Stewart.

I know the struggle of being an artist in this city and I see the vast investment of free time, free services and free gifts the Arts and Culture community makes to our community every year.

We do not value and appreciate our artists as we should. For example, there are few businesses or Individuals that would say "Show you paintings in my restaurant it will give you exposure" or "Play at my event because it will get your name out." The hours of work, practice and materials to develop these creations in that one ‘stinging’ remark devalues the artist. We need to value, truly value these talented people.

I plan to work with fellow councillors and councillors across the CRD to establish more opportunities for funding and support.

Question 4. Is there anything else regarding the arts that you would like to communicate to voters at this time?

The term "lived experience" has been no more appropriate to my commitment to the Arts.

I arrived in Victoria to work as a Stage Manager on the Kaleidoscope Theatre production of "The Wizard of Earthsea" – it changed my life and my home. I love Victoria and its diverse Arts community. I have directed, acted in, and produced many, many theatre productions in Victoria and across Vancouver Island. I have donated my time to helping community theatre groups. Raising thousands of dollars for theatre companies and I created the Thrifty Foods Family Concert Series. I also served as the Managing Director of the Victoria International Children’s’ Festival. I also wrote and directed two fundraisers for Kaleidoscope. I mention these points, not to grandstand, but to show my commitment and to let people know, who likely are not aware of my passion for the Arts. Thank you for this opportunity.