Saturday, March 25, 2023

Hamilton Arts Vote 2022: Mayoral Candidate Ejaz Butt

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. 

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 five 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 officials following the election.

What arts event is a must-do for every Hamiltonian?

Hamiltonians are very diverse in their preferences for the rich selection of arts available in Hamilton. Whether its visiting our theatres or art galleries or listening to local musicians while enjoying their favourite foods, there is no shortage of choice, including many free options. Personally, I have not had an opportunity to read a good book in a while and I am going try to visit the book crawl on Concession Street featuring various authors and their works every 3rd Saturday. I hope others will join me there and support local talent.

How will you leverage your position as Mayor to advance the arts in Hamilton? 

By personally attending and supporting various festivals and events and bringing media attention to such events.

As Mayor, how would you advocate for investment in Hamilton arts and culture community during the City budget process? 

We will take a look at the budget to see where revenues from the arts are coming into the City and then use these funds to invest back to support local artists and events. Hamilton has a City Enrichment Fund that invests in 6 Program Areas including Agriculture, Arts, Communities, Culture & Heritage, Community Services, Environment, Sports & Active Lifestyles. We will continue to look into supporting and enhancing such investment opportunities.

How will you ensure working artists are able to continue building Hamilton’s culture? 

A vibrant arts scene is vital to any city’s heart and soul, especially when it comes to attracting visitors and tourists. Artists are an important part of the economic engine of the city. Again, we will look at investments such as the City Enrichment Fund and work with the local industry to support our artists by promoting local festivals, grants for artists, etc.

In the last few years, artists have lost a number of venues to showcase their work, including Artword Artbar, This Ain’t Hollywood, The Pearl Company and more. What role do you see the City of Hamilton having in fostering and expanding the number of accessible arts venues? 

Undoubtedly the pandemic had an impact on many industries including the arts and cultural sector. We will look at existing City infrastructure including City Hall grounds to host various venues and events to promote our artistic diversity throughout the year.

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