TORONTO - Brampton takes action in supporting creative development in a culturally diverse city. Sounds great, but what exactly does it mean?
Last week, the city issued a press release announcing that City Council appointed Nuvi Sidhu as inaugural Chair of the City’s first Arts, Culture and Creative Industry Development Agency.
An integral part of the City’s Culture Master Plan involves investment in the Cultural and Creative Sector (CCS) to help generate opportunities for economic development. Most cities strive to create an environment that is attractive to new residents, entrepreneurs, investors, businesses and visitors. Through programs embracing cultural diversity, nurturing creative and artistic talent the city aims to do just that.
In any society, CCS are critical elements that both spur innovation and promote positive social impact. Economies that embrace and support CCS have wide reaching benefits in health and well-being, education, diversity and development, to name a few.
What makes Brampton different? It is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada. Home to about 640,000 people, the City boasts over 230 ethnic backgrounds.
According to the Statistics Canada 2016 Census, approximately 55% of the population is made up of various Asian ethnic origins, followed by those of European origins at 27%. Just over 4% of the population is of Italian origin. Other ethnic groups include Caribbean at 11% and African at 5%. It is this mix of multi-cultural individuals that give the City its expressive and creative nature.
Long-time champion of local artists, Sidhu has more than ten years of experience in organizing community projects in arts and culture. Over the last five years as Project Management Consultant running NuvCo Inc., she has utilized her skills in providing project management services to artists, creatives, non-profits and offers support to the local emerging artist community.
In her volunteer role as inaugural Chair, Sidhu will work with Senior Program Lead Michael Vickers, to provide governance and guidance in the start-up and formation of the Agency to fulfil its mandate.
In Brampton’s 2019 Economic Development & Culture budget, $372,000 was earmarked to initiate the start-up of the Agency, which will operate at arm’s length to the City.
According to the press release, the Agency will provide leadership, advocacy and critical services to support the cultural, artistic and innovative development in the city. Over the next three years, the organization will transition into an independent non-profit corporation.
The city consulting team claim that this type of model will provide the greatest capacity to facilitate funding to artists and groups, implement programs and access to resources to encourage growth of the arts and creative industry.
In the wake of Covid-19, extended lockdowns have led to substantial impacts on several aspects of the economy. More specifically, it has exposed the fragility of CCS following closures of venues that support local performing arts, live music, festivals, etc.
The shift to online platforms during lockdown has shown the city’s perseverance to share its culture and creativity. But, the decline in revenue, investments, jobs and earnings have greater repercussions for the sector that could last for years to come.
Adapting to these challenges have created an opportunity to showcase how a city and its inhabitants can work to competitively tackle new challenges from various angels. It is an ambitious initiative that the City is leading. The creative potential of a culturally diverse community may prove beneficial to innovation and a stronger economic recovery.