THUNDER BAY – Members of the general public gathered at Confederation College on Thursday evening to help shape local cultural development at the 2nd Community Open House for the Inspire Thunder Bay Culture Plan. The event helped kick-off the local Culture Days celebration and highlighted some of the free activities that will be happening over the September 24-26 weekend. Participants took part in an interactive panel session to provide input on Draft Strategies and Actions, generated from public input gathered at the first Community Open House in March.
The Municipal Culture Plan, building off of the directions included in the 2005 Cultural Policy, is intended to be a strategic document for the City and its partners that identifies needs and priorities for strengthening the arts, heritage, and cultural sector. Directions for achieving the Plan’s vision included fostering capacity in the cultural sector, developing tourism potential in the creative community, and fostering the potential for creative entrepreneurship in youth, among others.
Leah Bayly, Supervisor of the City’s Cultural Services & Events Section, was happy to see the community supporting the planning process. “Public engagement has been vital to the cultural planning process since the project’s initiation in January”, said Bayly. “We are pleased to see the wide-ranging public interest in the Plan, and were thrilled to be able to launch the local Culture Days celebration atthe Open House”.
The Open House was the kick-off event for the City’s first-ever involvement in the nation-wide Culture Days celebration happening this weekend across the city. Callie Hemsworth, the City’s Coordinator of Recreation & Culture Planning urged everyone to get in touch with their cultural side and join the Culture Days movement. “The aim of Culture Days is to promoting public participation in the cultural life of our community, and we’re excited to take part in the event for the first time with a number of cultural organizations, groups, and individual artists – all offering free interactive activities to the public”, Hemsworth said. A listing of local activities of everything from free dance and art workshops to film events and live performances can be found at www.thunderbay.ca/culturedays.
Earlier in the afternoon, a workshop was held for potential partners at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery to determine roles and prioritize actions for implementing the Plan. Thursday’s Open House was the second of three large-scale community consultation efforts, with the final Open House being scheduled as a celebration of the Plan’s completion in early 2011.