The following is the response I gave to the survey from Professional Arts Coalition. You can view a full list of my survey responses here.
Do you feel the city does enough to encourage and support an active arts sector?
I'm not unhappy with City support for the arts. In general, the arts are respected for the value they bring to the city and its citizens.
What would you change in the city's current approach?
Arts funding isn't a one-size-fits all solution. Different artists need different things - any arts support must be in service of exactly that so any changes would need to be informed by artists actually on the ground creating.
Do you support the city’s purchase and display of public art through the Percent for Art program (this provides 1% of the construction budget of publicly accessible buildings in Edmonton to buying public art)? If not, please explain why not.
Yes. Public art beautifies our spaces and give citizens another avenue to interact with and explore their city. Before the Percent for Art program, public art was chronically underfunded.
The one possible addendum I might make to this program is potentially make some portion of the budget required at the project site as it currently is, with the rest of the funding made available for other public art projects around the city. Generally more and smaller public art installations are something I prefer - we already have several iconic pieces, so now it would be great to increase the accessibility of public art.
Appropriate facilities to support Edmonton's arts and culture industries are critical to our city's growth and development in this area. The creation of specific districts to support certain kinds of Arts, such as music districts, has been adopted in some cities to foster growth of cultural industries. How would you propose supporting the creation of dedicated arts districts?
Many of these districts have already appeared, we've got the theatre areas around the Fringe site, we've got the upcoming Artist's Quarters downtown. I think the creation of these new districts would need to be bottom up. We should identify the areas of organic growth and support from there, not top-down dictate: "Musicians go here", etc.
In the province's current economic situation, the city's resources are stretched. In this climate, how important is it for the city to financially support new arts facilities and activities?
No, I don't think new facilities should be the target. We do have quite a strong existing stock of arts facilities and our focus should be ensuring the longevity of those facilities. New facilities do not help the arts if the existing facilities close down due to economic hardship.
What would you advocate to ensure that training in Fine Arts – music, dance, theatre, visual arts – is an integral part of the education of young Edmontonians?
I do not think it's the place of a City Councillor to interfere with provincial education governed by the school board.
What do you think it would take to make Edmonton a world class city?
I think this question is particularly insidious. I have zero desire whatsoever to make Edmonton a "world class city".
The pursuit of being a "world class city" looks to judge a city based on external validation. We should make an Edmonton-class city that's great for Edmontonians, using the best knowledge from around the world. But it should be built for us.
What role do you see local Arts playing in helping to make Edmonton a world class city?
Stop using those words please.
The local arts make Edmonton a great and fun place to live, which is the point. Whether it's attending a local music venue, or catching some improv at Rapid Fire Theatre there are many unique and interesting artists performing in Edmonton, and that variety is precisely what makes the city interesting and fun to live in.
The City of Edmonton has supported such international sporting events as Festival International des Sports Extrêmes (FISE), ITU World Triathlon and the Tour of Alberta to place Edmonton on the national and world stage. Would you favour similarly supporting, pursuing and creating major national and international Arts showcases that would put Edmonton on the world stage as a centre of Arts and Culture?
Probably not. It seems like the dollars could be spent much better actually supporting the local artists and getting Edmontonians to their shows.
If this is what local artists truly want and consultation with them shows that, then sure, that's something we can pursue. But my initial intuition is that this is not the best use of limited art dollars, and is again in pursuit of external validation rather than being happy with our own successes.
Troy Pavlek ran as an unelectable fringe candidate in the 2017 Edmonton municipal election
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Troy draws some exceptional crayon art
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