Letter from Abbotsford Parks and Recreation on Public Art

Local attempts to promote arts investment in BC are all part of this fight. We thought this might interest you – and please take part in the Abbotsford News poll, link below.

Dear Friends of Culture,

Did you know that Abbotsford News has an online poll asking;

‘Should the city spend one per cent of its capital facilities budget on public art?’

Currently the poll is standing at 34 votes for yes and 100 votes for no.

To participate in the voting go to www.abbynews.com. The poll is at the bottom of the page.  Please forward this link to anyone else who would like to participate.

The decision to support public art has not been taken lightly, and has, in fact, involved over 4 years of community engagement, research, and small test steps. Public art is one strategy of a City-wide vision to help make Abbotsford the most sustainable, liveable and prosperous City in British Columbia.

Public art reflects a community’s heritage, multiculturalism, values, hopes and dreams and uniqueness.  It creates opportunities for dialogue, increased tourism, and beautification of the public realm.

Public art has been identified by the Mayor’s Task Force on Crime Reduction as a tool to promote civic pride. “Civic pride has the ability to discourage litter, graffiti, and criminal activity, which inevitably contributes to community improvement and an atmosphere for volunteerism and personal responsibility”. (Solutions for America website) Public art can also act as a focal point in neighbourhoods, decreasing crime by increasing visibility. Public art that includes lighting components can become a meeting place in the evening, helping take back the streets and bringing back old fashioned community gathering.

Public art also acts as an ambassador for Abbotsford. Public art is a much photographed element of a City and our visitors posing with public art bring home with them a cultural memento which is then shared with their circle of friends and family, advertising what a great place Abbotsford is to see and visit.

In the global competition for a skilled and educated workforce, public art, as with all culture, is vital. People choose to live and visit beautiful, culturally vibrant, friendly, and safe communities.  Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever and can choose to live anywhere. We want them here!

Culture is an economic stimulator. Consumer Spending on Culture in Canada, the Provinces and 12 Metropolitan Areas in 2008, the 32nd report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series from Hill Strategies Research, shows that Canadian consumers spent over $27 billion on cultural goods and services in 2008. Some key findings of the report include:

– The $27.4 billion in consumer spending on culture in Canada represents $841 for every Canadian resident.- Consumer spending on culture is three times larger than the $9.2 billion spent on culture by all levels of government in 2007/08.

– Consumer spending on culture is three times larger than consumer spending on hotels, motels and other travel accommodations ($9.2 billion).

– After adjusting for inflation, cultural spending increased by 28% between 1997 and 2008, double the growth in the Canadian population. The 28% increase in cultural spending is lower than the 37% increase in spending on all goods and services between 1997 and 2008.

– Cultural spending per capita varies significantly between the provinces and is highest in Alberta ($963) and Saskatchewan ($905). The five western-most provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario) have per capita levels of cultural spending that are above the Canadian average ($841).

We are confident that this expenditure will create economic and social returns that far outweigh the initial investment. Abbotsford is far behind many communities in terms of support for culture and, recognizing this, we are working to change this so that the future of our community will be bright, prosperous and safe.

The future of culture in our City can be changed by the click of your mouse. It’s time to take your stand.

Thank you and best regards,


Tamaka Fisher, Arts and Heritage Coordinator
Parks, Recreation and Culture Department
City of Abbotsford
32315 South Fraser Way,
Abbotsford, BC, V2T 1W7


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