Before keyboarding fatigue becomes a diagnosable condition, we should all whip open our laptops and take part in the Whistler Arts Council’s (WAC) “Say Something” campaign. WAC is asking all of us to say something about arts, culture and heritage via an online survey until Jan. 20 at www.artswhistler.com/Say-Something/.
The carrot is a prize package comprised of a six-month pass to Meadow Park Sports Centre and a WAC Performance Series punch card. These are seriously cool and timely prizes. For those of us who resolved last week to “get in shape in 2013,” the fitness pass might be the incentive needed to keep on track, while the Performance Series pass provides exposure to WAC’s diversity of cultural offerings.
I like the “Say Something” campaign for a number of reasons. First, it takes away excuses for not getting involved, from prior commitments that conflict with community meetings to basic laziness. Almost everyone has the time to spend five or ten minutes on a survey, especially since most of it requires little more than clicking on a suitable answers. Secondly, it’s easy and comprehensive. If anyone came up to me and asked, “What should the future of the arts be in Whistler?” I would mutter something about festivals, silent discos and new events — a mantra that even my most causal acquaintances are sick of hearing. However, give me a list of eight potential arts experience and ask me to rate each, I can do that. Finally, there’s the name of the campaign itself: “Say Something.”
Often people continue to gripe about things even after they have come to pass. When asked if they were involved in any discussions or meetings that could have changed the course of events, their answer is generally “no,” Unless you’ve been living in a tree well, you probably know that things are changing for the arts in Whistler, previous studies have identified arts and culture as a potential growth area for the resort and now things are moving. How Whistler’s arts and culture scene will move forward is currently undecided and the campaign is asking for input and guidance from the community. WAC’s simple, yet clever initiative, challenges even the naysayers among us to have their say. And naysayers should make their opinions known alongside those of the cheerleaders, it’s the only way that a full picture can be achieved. Conflicting opinions often generate more discussion resulting in better ideas.
Whistler has never been a town of autocrats, perhaps its because of the sheer volume of community stakeholders, or maybe it’s something that’s ingrained in the community DNA along with our pioneering spirit and sense of fun. No, Whistler has been more about partnerships, discussion and consensus building. By putting together this inclusive campaign, WAC is extending this ethos to everyone who lives, works or plays in the community.
Whether we’re in decision-making positions or just eking out a living in the trenches, we’re all partners in the success of the resort. A couple of years ago Stephen Thorne’s report, A Tapestry of Place, showed how arts and culture could both enhance and complement what Whistler already offers. For many the report confirmed what they had long suspected, the resort’s primary audience was aging and was looking for more than great skiing and mountain biking.
WAC is putting its cards on the table. They’re open to new ideas, criticism and kudos to help set direction. They are a mature organization that’s worked hard to secure their place in the community and they deserve our support. Take a few minutes out this weekend and say something about the arts. You opinion counts.