I have always been a sincere advocate for the arts and humanities, quick to highlight the importance of a vibrant and connected artistic social scene in any community, as well as the benefits to culture and society as a whole when we create the foundation for our artists to prosper. Having been involved tremendously with my own dance troupe and a supporter of all forms of expression, perfecting art forms from India and expressing them through dance, I know what impact we can have on communities and the relationships and bonds we can form through art. I believe that, as a people, as a community, and as a government, this is an important area just like any other and we should not hesitate to invest in culture and the arts.
One of the profoundly fortuitous aspects of our beautiful cultural mosaic, is the vast, varying degree of ideas, perspectives, art forms, modes of thinking, that come from a society made up of peoples whose heritage may sprawl back to every region of the world, but unite and coalesce peacefully under the Canadian flag, that exposes us to different cultures and all that comes with it. These ideas, as unique and wholesome as they may be on their own, need places to flourish, to grow, and to develop in the artistic world. The arts - particularly in Ottawa - are thriving, but need something more. Education is a powerful tool and we are an educated society, in the arts as well. But I am not talking about post-secondary arts, not an arts program as defined by a university or college curriculum; I am referring to access to art programs and centres of excellence that allow emerging and established artists to hone their skills and pass on their knowledge to others who are as enthusiastic about their artistic expression and talent as well. Cultural centres that aren’t so much about the performing arts or a prominent display for exhibitions and the like, but spaces for artistic dialogue to happen and talent to grow.
This is a very real and very crucial barrier that artists in Nepean and, without a doubt, all of the Ottawa area face, that needs to be addressed. It is a deficit of a kind. When we speak of excellence and development in athletics, you would be quick to notice that recreation centres and sports complexes that assist with that kind of programming are not difficult to locate in most urban and suburban settings. It is my view that we should be take into consideration the value of the arts much like we do the value of exercise and personal physical development. We should equip ourselves and our artists with the resources to find self fulfillment through art, to expand our horizons, and to promote the arts in general.
To achieve this goal, we need to work with or municipal and federal counterparts to build and maintain artistic programming right here in Nepean. This is part and parcel of my primary priority for Nepean: to promote business and attract professionals to establish organizations here, as an economic and cultural hub, not in downtown Ottawa or Kanata. The riding of Nepean deserves better, and delivering that to the constituents is my resolute goal.
I hope that you, too, consider this an important goal for Nepean and will work with me to help the arts grow and prosper, right here in our neighbourhoods.