The fifth and final objective in Collingwood’s developing strategic plan (the woo-hoo plan) is culture and the arts. For something so important to the community, with such a huge potential, it encompasses a mere two goals. Disappointingly, neither of them relate to its huge economic potential, which everyone else seems to understand except this committee and its council.
“The rapidly evolving global economy demands a dynamic and creative workforce. The arts and its related businesses are responsible for billions of dollars in cultural exports for this country. It is imperative that we continue to support the arts and arts education both on the national and local levels. The strength of every democracy is measured by its commitment to the arts.” Charles Segars, CEO of Ovation
Only two goals are suggested for our burgeoning creative/cultural economy, what may easily be the most important sector in our local economy over the next decade or two. There are more items in the first section about using the plan’s logos than there are goals here. At least there are several action items, albeit typically lame, vague ones. I suppose it’s like what La Rochefoucauld wrote:
Fertility of mind does not furnish us with so many resources on the same matter, as the lack of intelligence makes us hesitate at each thing our imagination presents, and hinders us from at first discerning which is the best. Maxim 287.
So little does this group (and by extension, this council) regard arts and culture than they are not even mentioned in the proposed vision statements!
Goal: Promote arts and cultural programs
Duh. Aside from the complete face-palm-plant obviousness of this, it doesn’t say how one promotes programs. Newsletters are obviously out since many of those at the table criticized the previous council’s use of newsletters for public communication. Semaphore? Smoke signals? Tweets?
Nor does it identify whose programs it promotes. Or even who does the promoting. There’s no indication this is even local. Is the town supposed to support, say, the Stratford Festival’s theatrical programs?
And what arts? A male friend of mine will argue seriously pole dancing is an art. Are we going to bring back the Georgian Grill as the new arts centre? I’m not sure if there are programs for pole dancing, however, and this goal clearly states the town should support programs, not the arts and culture themselves.
Goal: Support and expand the diversity of community events and festivals
Another head banger. Who isn’t going to isn’t going to support events and festivals? Well, all those people who hate Elvis, of course.And those downtown merchants who whine and grumble every time the main street is closed or has activity. But there are always people who hate everything.
Does this sentence mean ‘support the diversity and expand the diversity’? Or ‘support community events and expand the diversity’? Improper punctuation makes it unclear.
One wonders how you can expand diversity, since the word means a range of different things which suggests it is already expanded. If it’s already diverse – i.e. varied – does it need to be expanded and if so – how?
Do they mean make single events more diverse? And if so what events? Do they want to make the Elvis Festival into Elvis, Blues and Brews? or the Jazz at the Station into Jazz and Polka music at the Station? How about Local Live Lunch and Sudoku Contest?
Let me reiterate a point I made earlier: a good strategic plan talks in practical terms and specifics: a woo-hoo plan talks in generalities and fuzzy terms. Welcome to woo-hoo.