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More events like a mural festival could boost Port Moody's brand as City of the Arts: report

A task force looking into enhancing the relationship between Port Moody's arts and business communities was created earlier this year.
KAMRAN SAFARI PHOTO Artist Melissa Burgher was commissioned by Vancouver-based PCI Developments to depict renewed life for Slaughterhouse Creek after it has been daylighted as part of a major development project in the Moody Centre neighbourhood through which it passes.

More festivals and events, the creation of a street art program to enliven paved areas and activate laneways, and the establishment of an arts and business council are among the recommendations of a task force looking at ways to bolster’s Port Moody’s branding at City of the Arts.

The group was assembled earlier this year and includes representatives from city council, staff, as well as Port Moody’s arts and business communities.

Among its goals is articulating “a vision for growing the City of the Arts brand” and brainstorming “ways to create synergies between Port Moody’s arts and business communities that will strengthen the city’s brand.”

Over the course of several meetings and workshops, the group was able to compile more than 40 ideas and activities that have been whittled to nine recommendations, according to a report.

They include:

  • establish an arts and business council
  • develop an inventory of outdoor, public and private spaces that are under-utilized and could be repurposed for arts-based uses
  • create a street art program
  • re-establish or create additional events and festivals, like a mural festival
  • build partnerships and collect stories
  • identify experiences that will define the City of the Arts
  • work to secure more spaces for artists in new development and through developers’ community amenity contributions
  • enhance placemaking through the colours used in building construction
  • create partnerships between artists and landowners to help repurpose and reinvigorate buildings and public areas into arts spaces

While it’s still early days for the task force and its next steps to develop a new terms of reference, establish a founding board for the arts and business council and develop its scope and mandate, the report said there’s six “quick wins” that could be accomplished quickly by staff:

  • create a policy for art panels on fencing around developments and city projects
  • review and update the city’s public art policy
  • establish an arts-based community grant program
  • explore the creation of a program that would allow businesses to hold classes in park space for free, if they’re not charging for the class
  • look into allowing not-for-profit and community-based organizations to use civic spaces, including parks, for free or at a reduced fee
  • examine a reduction of business license fees for artists, or even offering them for free

According to the report, the task force’s final recommendations will be presented to council in October.

But, it said, time is of the essence to get the ball rolling as “momentum may be lost along with the goodwill of the task force participants and community.”

Port Moody’s City of the Arts brand was created more than 20 years ago by local arts advocates Elizabeth Keurvost and the late Ann Kitching. They thought the slogan would help boost the arts and tourism in the city.

But a survey conducted in 2021 found almost a quarter of respondents wanted the slogan altered or changed from Port Moody’s vision statement.


SOUND OFF: Do you think City of the Arts is still a relevant brand for Port Moody? What do you think Port Moody could do to become a true City of the Arts? What sorts of arts events would you like to see? Send us a Letter to the Editor. Be sure to include your full name and city of residence.

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