I had a recent conversation over coffee with “an ally” (who shall remain anonymous) about the local music and arts community here in town. We covered many subjects and areas, but most of these tangents lead back to two connected facts: there is little to no support for the local music and arts community at any political level, and everything political, from the Town Council downwards, is nearly “controlled by Baby Boomers”.
Voter/ political apathy is at an all-time high, especially so in the younger segment. While the persistent cry of justification is “I don’t care” and/ or “it doesn’t affect me”, let me be frank: IT’S TIME TO GROW UP! You SHOULD care! It DOES affect you! And, it affects others. In all aspects, not just the arts.
Outsiders have this very rosy, unrealistic view of our Queen City being some kind of “Music and Arts Hippy Shangri-La”, but as know, if you live here for any amount of time, this just isn’t so. “No dogs downtown” bylaw, “no hacky sack” bylaw, “no drumming” bylaw, “no amplified guitar busking” bylaw, “no panhandling” bylaw, and on and on. Whether you agree with these or not, these bylaws have only come to pass because they were enacted upon by our voted-into-office Mayor and Council. These bodies, with the exception of former Councillor Michelle Mungall, are all stocked with Baby Boomers, those aged Fifty and older, with their voter base being their peers, and the affluent, influential, and very conservative families that have lived here for generations.It’s these “Power Players”, who are a tiny minority by the way, that influence every aspect of life for the majority here in town. While our outward reputation is that of “a Liberal Arts town“, in actuality, this place has become more and more conservative since the Eighties.
Arts wise, we are falling well short of both our reputation and our potential. With more support, financial and otherwise, we could renew and expand our scope; artists and internet-based professionals could flock here with the right infrastructure in place, securing a broad tax base and legendary, international arts community status.
For the balance of power to shift, we need activism, not apathy. We need Generation X, Y, and Millenials to get involved on all levels of rule, but especially in the political arena. If not Town Council, then infiltrate and influence organizations like the Cultural Development Committee, Regional District Of Central Kootenays, the Columbia Basin Trust.
Are you just going to talk, discuss, and complain, doing nothing to affect change? Are you happy with your future, arts and otherwise, being decided by affluent people you have nothing in common with? If the answer is no, then please, get in the ring!!! Your artists, musicians, and children need you…