It’s election season in the City of Hamilton. Nine candidates are vying for the mayoral seat, and a further 81 are vying for 15 City Council seats. It is not unreasonable to expect that the political landscape in Hamilton is about to shift significantly.
According to the City of Hamilton, Ward 13 is comprised of the former Town of Dundas and has extended into a large rural portion of Flamborough, extending from Greensville to the city limits. Its borders are the Dundas municipal boundary (east), Highway 8 (south), Hamilton city limits along Gore Road (west) and Highway 6 and Milgrove Sideroad (north). Ward 13 also contains the Dundas Valley School of Art, African Lion Safari, Freelton, Kirkwall, Rockton and Greensville.
In a joint partnership between the Hamilton Arts Council and Beyond James, a nonpartisan candidate survey was sent for prospective leaders to map out their vision for our city. Just three questions have provided a window into what those running for office in Hamilton would do to invest in creativity.
The Hamilton Arts Council will utilize survey responses to continue conversations with elected councillors following the election.
What arts event is a must do for every Hamiltonian?
I think every Hamiltonian could benefit from accessing more arts programming in our City. I’m not sure any one event is the perfect fit for everyone but I personally enjoy art crawl and local studio tours. Right now I am particularly excited about visiting the Future of Work: Letters from the Land and Water Exhibit at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre!
What do you see as an opportunity to expand arts and culture in Hamilton?
The climate emergency has made it clear, we need to change everything. Artists will play a vital role in our city, helping us imagine possible futures, innovate with new technologies, and help us grieve, celebrate, and process what are certain to be dynamic years for our city and the world. Working with local artists in placemaking projects is an incredible opportunity not just to re-imagine our public spaces but to help democratize them as well, by involving residents in the city building process. Placemaking projects can also help us (re)connect to the natural world and the land and the water we live with. In Ward 13, I community members have worked with students and local artists to design seed libraries for the Action 13 Dundas Seed Library Project. Other placemaking art projects from increasing public performances, to commissioning public art, to updating our signage along our trails and in our parks are all ways to imagine and create a vibrant and resilient future for our city and our communities.
If elected, how will you leverage your position as a City Councillor to advance the arts in Hamilton?
I believe we need to prioritize funding and support of public art and local artists. This looks like increasing funding for public art and placemaking programs. Further, Hamilton Artists Organizing, have made clear that without action to end inequality, houselessness, and poverty, artists and working people will continue to be pushed out of our city. Not only must Hamilton City Council massively expand public and affordable housing, Council should work in partnership with local studios and arts anchor institutions to include artist in residence programs in new and existing buildings, supporting local artists with housing and studio space and engaging local residents and building community through arts.
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