In recognition of the growing importance of arts and culture initiatives to Orangeville’s economy and quality of life, the Town of Orangeville is in the process of developing a Cultural Plan that will solidify Orangeville as a vibrant hub and destination for arts and culture.
Toronto firms Culture Capital and Nordicity have formed a partnership and are the consultants brought in to take on this project in conjunction with The Arts and Culture Committee of town council as their advisory group.
Rita Davies, principal of Culture Capital, said that these days, we’re in a period of great change where traditional businesses and industries are disappearing.
“What is replacing them, in terms of value, are those activities referred to as the ‘Creative Class’. Economic experts are finally quantifying what those in the arts have known for years – that there is a significant correlation between a city’s creative sphere and its economic well-being.”
Ms. Davies said that when a municipality and a community have a vibrant and creative cultural life, which is equated with a tolerant and multi-ethnic society, it becomes a magnet for knowledge workers.
“Improving Orangeville’s cultural sector will help to improve the quality of life for Orangeville because it will increase its creative quotient and make it a more desirable place for attracting knowledge workers,” she said. “It will stimulate the economy in a number of ways. Part of the work we’re doing is to develop an economic impact of what’s taking place in Orangeville now. It’s not just art for art’s sake and it’s not culture as charity; its culture as an investment and strategy.”
Orangeville is the unofficial hub of Dufferin County as its largest town, and it has a very progressive cultural policy.
“The mayor is clearly in support of the arts,” said Ms. Davies. “Councillor [Mary] Rose is the chair of the Arts and Culture committee and they have an Arts and Culture committee. So, while there are all of these existing support areas and policies, the cultural plan will help to guide the development of cultural programs and initiatives.”
Ms. Davies said the cultural plan not only pertains to the downtown heritage district, but will affect any area of Orangeville which shows cultural and artistic potential.
“The inventory is capturing a number of different areas. It’s not [focussed on] areas that are more obviously arts and culture like Theatre Orangeville, which is still a large part of it; all activities and areas that can be really inventoried.”
Ms. Davies said the plan is due to be presented to the town in January. “We need to be wrapping up our work for the town before the end of the year.”
For the Cultural Plan to be a success, it requires input from the Orangeville community. The Town wants to know how you find out about cultural activities in the Town, the cultural events and activities with which you interact and what aspects of arts and culture you want to see more of in Orangeville.
The Town asks local residents to take time to share your experience with the arts and culture in Orangeville at this link: fluid surveys.com/s/orangevilleculture/.