Regional Cultural Roundtable Committee Moving the Cultural Plan Forward

The implementation of the regional Cultural Plan is well underway. Cultural leaders from within the County of Hastings, City of Belleville and City of Quinte West have jointly prioritized actions within their 10-year Cultural Plan and have since been holding meetings to plan the roll-out. The plan outlines four main goals: Goal 1: Foster Regional Cultural Collaboration; Goal 2: Grow Culture-Driven Economic Development; Goal 3: Celebrate the Region’s Rich History and Heritage; and Goal 4: Build a Strong and Collaborative Cultural Sector.

One of the first actions was to establish a Cultural Roundtable. This Roundtable’s mandate is not to be that of an “advisory body”, but an action-oriented mechanism to support implementation of the Cultural Plan. It consists of stakeholders from the local cultural community and those who helped develop the Plan, and has been formed to commence the implementation process.

The group has formalized a communications plan to keep the public informed and is in the process of placing the mapped cultural asset database onto an interactive online platform, and encouraging collaboration between various groups in the area.  With the onset of the municipal elections, the Cultural Roundtable is moving forward to ensure that the candidates are aware of the content and benefits of the Regional Cultural Plan that was adopted by Hastings County, Quinte West and Belleville municipal councils in September of 2012.

The Cultural Plan is important because the cultural industries have and continue to grow in our area bringing economic benefits to the region. There has been a 20% increase in Creative/Arts jobs from 2006 to 2011 in Hastings County alone. Creative workers typically earn $20,000 more on average than the next wage category and bring spending power in a community. As of June 2011, 303 creative cultural industries were identified across Hastings, Belleville & Quinte West Region. This includes jobs in culture support services, advertising, design, motion picture and video, publishing and independent artists, writers and performers.  Studies also show that cultural tourists stay in the area longer thus increasing tourism revenue to the region. In our area, there are at least 68 cultural heritage sites/organizations that exist, over 60 festivals and events and over 40 natural heritage attractions.

According to Evironics Research Groups, there is great interest and support for arts and culture with the Ontario public. 89% believe that if their community lost its arts activities, people living there would lose something of value. 81% of Ontarians agree that government should spend public dollars to support the arts. 95% of Ontarians say that the arts enrich the quality of their lives. Involvement of each municipality is key. Arts and culture are the cornerstones of the creative, knowledge –based economy which provides return on investment. According to Cultural Plan expert and consultant, Dr. Greg Baeker, “every $1 invested by the City of Toronto in their Cultural Plan, results in $17 in spinoffs from other levels of government, private sector and philanthropic support.” In 2007, the Canadian cultural sector generated more than three times the governments’ direct spending on culture by generating approximately $25 billion dollars in taxes to all levels of government.

The message is clear. Investing in Arts, Culture and Heritage makes sound economic sense and improves the quality of life for the citizens of the region. The Cultural Roundtable is committed to fostering and encouraging creativity and prosperity for those engaged in cultural industries in our region for the benefit of all citizens and visitors in our community. Details are available at www.hastingsculturalplan.com.

A Place for the Arts in Bancroft

Photo from Bancroft This Week newspaper

Photo from Bancroft This Week newspaper

As reported recently, and in both the Bancroft Times and Bancroft This Week newspapers, the brand new “A Place for the Arts” in Bancroft recently held an open house.

Their grand opening was held on July 24, 2014.  Inside their location at 23E Bridge Street West, one will find a not-for-profit co-operative dedicated to supporting the arts and artists of the area.  Art lovers and those who appreciate art will be able to see quite a bit of local talent.

The idea for this new venture came about when a group of artists wanted to have a place where those interested in art could meet and create, as well as have a location to sell some of their items.  Furthermore, as outlined on p. 24 of the 10-year Cultural Plan, providing spaces for artists and creative enterprises is key, especially in downtown areas.  Therefore, congratulations and thanks to the group of artists who made this new opportunity happen in downtown Bancroft!

Next time you’re in Bancroft, stop in and see what it’s all about.

Notes from Roundtable meeting

The following are the notes taken from the June 26, 2014 Cultural Roundtable meeting.

1. Welcome and Introductions:
• Andrew Redden
• Ian Acton
• Richard Hughes
• Rachel Comeau
• Trevor Pross
• Jennifer Rushlow
• James Smith
• Harold Eastman
• Carol Feeney
• Isla Key
• Trevor Pross
• Rita Turtle

 

Regrets: David Vanderlip, Tim Porter, Linda Lisle, Mark Fluhrer

 

2. Review of Coordinator position – look at developing an online interactive mapping tool featuring cultural resources:
Andrew noted that through discussions with Mark Fluhrer, Linda Lisle and Jennifer Rushlow it was thought that budgeted municipal funding this year for the Cultural Plan could go towards development of an online interactive Cultural Map. Originally discussions surrounded using funding for a Cultural Coordinator. Andrew commented that since a Coordinator would not be in place immediately, and possible funding from external sources has been delayed, it might be more tangible this year to satisfy an action item in the Cultural Plan which is to “map out” cultural assets and resources.

ACTION: Andrew will contact both Pembroke and Guelph to learn what they think about their cultural mapping websites before we start investing our time. How are they able to measure the outcomes? Are people using it?

3. Update from Communications Team:
Carol Feeney reported. They have developed a Communications Plan for 2014. Objective is to keep the Cultural Plan top of mind. Carol emailed to everyone the Communications Plan (A copy of the plan is available at the end of these meeting notes).

An identifiable logo has been created to use. Rachel Comeau created a few drafts on letterhead and it was thought that the Hastings County Planning (Economic) Development office should be used as a recipient of correspondence on behalf of the initiative.

Two draft news releases to introduce the Roundtable and Goals and Objectives have been written. One is to go to media and another to politicians to help raise awareness. ACTION: Carol Feeney will liaise with Andrew Redden to run the draft releases past the County CAO/Warden’s office for review prior to distribution.

A brief handout has also been prepared that can be distributed to help educate people and the public. Trevor Pross has a draft available.

Culture Days was mentioned by Carol Feeney as an upcoming opportunity. A workshop on how to get involved was held recently at the Belleville Public Library.

Any success stories related to Culture should be sent to the Communications Team members so that it can be published and promoted. Also, email any news items to Andrew Redden as they can be posted at www.hastingsculturalplan.com

Discussion surrounding a Twitter Hashtag also took place. Should there be a hashtag update? A thought is to use simply #CulturePlan

 
4. Update from Richard Hughes on heritage organizations and mapping:
The Historical Society has been trying to spread out across the County and found that they didn’t have full information on all organizations. Richard has therefore been working on a directory of all the heritage and historical organizations across our Cities and County. He has an excel spreadsheet with about 20 organizations on it. It covers their address, mandate, people etc. Not complete, but he’s promised to put it in the hands of everyone. He wants to arrange for a meeting to bring the organizations together. Many organizations know others by name but have never met. One idea is to host a lunch gathering of all the identified organizations and start some networking.

 
5. Update on how a “Place for the Arts” is going in Bancroft:
Harold Eastman reported. There have been a couple of open meetings. One was held on June 8. Ad Hoc until now, but there is a Steering Committee in place. He will provide the name of a contact person who can participate in the Cultural Roundtable. 35 people are very interested in becoming a member of this cooperative, half have paid some form of fees to show their serious interest. They are looking at a location in downtown Bancroft with a nice storefront and studio space. Two others are older churches that have been closed. They’ve ended up in the hands of town Council. They are possibilities. There’s a gallery membership for hanging privileges and pay commission on whatever you’ve sold, and another is a studio membership. If you wanted to work on site and are a performing artist, then you could do that in one of the studio spaces.
Still up in the air. Would be not for profit. It will be a collaborative environment. Insurance would be something they’d have to find.

UPDATE: A Place for the Arts Bancroft opened and is located at 23 East Bridge Street, Bancroft.

Carol Feeney mentioned the Quinte Arts Council does help hang artwork in outside locations. Artisans will have their own home policies that cover their artwork while on display elsewhere.

6. Artisans Merchants Boutique in Belleville:
Trenval Business Development Corporation has opened a retail incubator in downtown Belleville. It will support 20 small micro businesses and be known as an “Artisan Merchant Boutique”. $100 is the cost per month per business person. It will be a storefront with high traffic and a required 10% sales commission goes back to Trenval. It’s an incubator of sorts and they will be strategically handpicking who gets to go in the store.

 
7. Other items:
Carol mentioned she got approved funding for a 2 year program… it’s going to help with membership. She is going to turn Quinte Arts Council’s website into a Quinte Arts site. People won’t have to setup an account etc…. members can have their own website through their site. It comes with social media hands-on training. Event information and everything will be put out through their one calendar. It will help provide financial sustainability. It’s a web development and marketing project.
Richard Hughes noted, if near the library there’s a new Heritage Trust plaque in front of the library commemorating Dr. James B Collip. He helped discover insulin.

 
8. Adjournment of the Teleconference Call

 Cultural Round Table Communications Plan 2014
Objectives:
• To inform the public and keep top-of-mind the importance of the Regional Cultural Plan and its benefits to the community
• To continue to build support from the municipalities in the region to provide the necessary resources to support the plan
• To celebrate the success stories that have and continue to occur in our communities as a result of adoption of the Regional Cultural Plan
Actions:
• Create an identity for the Cultural Round Table committee for use in communications tools – completed May 2014
• Develop an email regional media list for information distribution –completed May 2014
• Create letterhead with main contact information for approval – completed June 13
• Introduce the members of the Cultural Round Table and its goals and objectives (draft release produced)
• Prepare an information package for distribution to all individuals running for Council in Belleville, Quinte West and Hastings County – August 2014
• Communicate with the public and municipal leaders the values and benefits of the Plan (draft release produced)
• Hold an information session open to all regional artists and arts organizations to outline the benefits of participation in Culture Days to raise awareness for the wealth of arts and culture that exists within the region and provide direct interaction with the public during the event – held June 3
• Prepare information packages for all those artists and groups participating in Culture Days for distribution to the politicians and public present to promote the Cultural Plan – September 2014
• Have individual meetings with candidates to explain the purpose of the plan and its benefits prior to the election in October 2014
• Work in concert with regional BIA’s and Chambers of Commerce to ensure that the support for the Cultural Plan is part of the questions asked at town hall meetings prior to the Municipal elections in October – June to September 2014
• Tell each success story as it happens – Cultural Round Table Committee members to keep each other informed about any and all activities that are a result of the Plan – provision of space for artists, collaboration of various groups, etc. so that the Communications committee may send out the information as communication from the Cultural Round Table Committee