Arts and cultural plan adopted

City of Kelowna approves policy guideline with 10 goals and 63 strategy plans to enhance city's cultural 'ecosystem.'

Kelowna city council has endorsed a plan aimed at guiding its approach to arts and culture for the next five years.

The city’s new cultural plan, described by cultural services manger Sandra Kochan as a guide for planning and budgeting, contains 10 goals and 63 strategies to enhance Kelowna’s cultural vitality, measure cultural impact on city and enhance what the plan calls the “cultural ecosystem.”

“A key aspect of this plan is that it builds on existing facilities, budgets and efforts of the community,” said Kochan in presenting the plan to council.

While the city provides support in key ways, true success, she said, is based on leadership by, and partnerships with, others.

And it’s in that context that council was asked to support the non-monetary initiatives in the report and move forward.

Kochan said while a number of improvement initiatives will require financial assistance to proceed, due to current economic conditions within the community and the country, city funding is not possible for those improvements.

So while the plan identifies strengths and weaknesses, Kochan said city staff will evaluate funding for specific projects individually in relation to future city budgets.

The cultural plan identifies strengths and weakness, as well as threats and opportunities for culture in the community.

It says while Kelowna has excellent facilities and there is already a good level of city investment, weaknesses include a lack of public awareness of what is happening here, a lack of youth involvement, high costs and a lack of affordable production space for artists.

Opportunities include cultural tourism, and recognition that the community leads the way with government support.

Threats include instability of federal and provincial funding, aging facilities and the difficulty for young artists to afford to live and work here.

The plan’s goals include:

• Enhance existing programs.

• Optimize existing cultural facilities.

• Find more and different kinds of affordable cultural spaces.

Integrate heritage as part of cultural vitality.

• Enhance cultural vitality at street level.

• Build cultural citizenship and creative fitness.

• Improve data collection and issue a cultural report card (in 2014).

• Capitalize on culture and tourism and the economy.

• Convene and connect the cultural community.

• Integrate culture into plans and process (of the city).

The Cultural Plan has already been supported by several local cultural groups and organizations including Kelowna Community Resources, the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, the Kelowna Art Gallery, the Kelowna Museums Society, Festivals Kelowna, the Downtown Kelowna Association, and the Central Okanagan Foundation.