The Whistler Arts Council is in the planning stages of crafting its new Whistler Community Cultural Plan — which will set the blueprint for the next 10 years of resort offerings — and on Tuesday (Jan. 15) will be looking to the community for input.
The Cultural Priorities workshop scheduled will act as a venue for the public to express ideas about what cultural events and services the community would like to see in Whistler, and which of those take priority.
“There has been this thinking of us, the artists, versus them, the general public, and we want to move away from that,” said Brian Johnston, founder of Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants (PERC). “The cultural fabric of Whistler is made up of everything that makes the community unique. In order to represent that uniqueness in our Cultural Plan, we need everyone to come to this meeting to tell us what is and isn’t working.
“It’s also an opportunity for artists to be heard who are often under-represented because they aren’t organized into a group or club, like those who are involved in public art.”
The development of the Cultural Plan is spearheaded by the Whistler Arts Council, funded by the Resort Municipality of Whistler and overseen by a community Steering Committee, along with members from the PERC firm.
The Whistler Arts Council already commiserated with local visual and performing artists during the end of last year. With their feedback, Johnston said they already have a loose idea about what the Cultural Plan will focus on improving.
“The plan will likely try to provide a better support system for emerging talent, as well as better coordination of services,” said Johnston. “We also want to make sure we are maximizing the use of our facilities and improving how we communicate to the community, ensuring everyone knows what events are going on and when.”
Over the past few years, Whistler has become a hub for a certain kind of artist — one that is able to work alone such as a painter, photographer, potter or writer. Artists who require larger audiences for their craft, such as theatre and performing arts, tend to reside in larger cities. Doti Niedermayer, executive director of the council, feels it’s important to continue to support the solitary artists, as well as encourage others. To do this, she said the cultural plan should provide further support and opportunity to showcase their work.
“Whistler as a community has matured. We have our infrastructure built and now it’s time for us to sit back and ask ourselves what else we can do to develop our community,” said Niedermayer. “It’s not just the amazing mountain terrain that keeps guests and locals interested in Whistler, it’s our night life, live music, and artists who contribute the vibe of Whistler. Now is the time to look into building up that scene.”
The Whistler Arts Council hopes to have its new Cultural Plan in place before the end of this year.
Visit www.artswhistler.com For more information about the Whistler Community Cultural Plan.