On Wednesday, October 22nd, Mudtown Records hosted an all-candidates forum on “The Future of the Arts in the Owen Sound Economy” at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library. All candidates that were able to attend did. You can watch video of the forum in its entirety by clicking here. The Owen Sound Sun Times covered the event, as did OwenSoundHub.org.
The purpose of the forum was to have candidates share their views on how the Arts may contribute to the growing of the Owen Sound economy; and, to answer questions from the public regarding their views on the subject. It was clear although many of the candidates recognize the significant contribution of the Arts to the local economy, very few thought of Arts related business in the same light as other more ‘traditional’ businesses.
There was mention of “exceptions for nonprofits,” “an innovation centre,” a “river arts project,” and other creative ideas from candidates, but no candidates talked of the Arts as business. Perhaps this is owing to the venerable status we often give to art and artists. Or, maybe it’s because they had their fill of business at the earlier Chamber of Commerce debate and the talk sponsored by the Owen Sound DIA.
It was a very positive event with much discussion generated. But, the crux will be what successful candidates do on council in order to generate money through the Arts. They were all ready to change an obscure bylaw prohibiting the ‘operation of a musical instrument’ in a residential neighbourhood. Current councillors were happy to tout how much money we spend on the Arts in proportion to how much we spend on Sports. But no one – perhaps wisely – wanted to show us the money.
Vote in the your local Ontario municipal election this Monday, October 27th.
NOTE: No candidate mentioned the culinary arts.