After a successful seven-year run, the term of Oak Bay’s first and only arts laureate has drawn to a close.
Oak Bay council received the final arts laureate annual report from Barbara Adams at its Feb. 8 meeting.
“I want to posthumously thank former mayor Nils Jensen for his foresight to put a vision for arts and culture into action and choosing me to create a process to do,” Adams said in her report. “Mayor (Kevin) Murdoch has continued to uphold the importance of arts and culture in Oak Bay and I want to thank the council members over the last seven or eight years for their support of ArtsAlive.”
Murdoch said he recently spoke to Adams, who was named Oak Bay’s first arts laureate in January 2014, to express his appreciation on behalf of council.
“It’s been really quite phenomenal when you look at what’s been done over the last multiple years,” he said.
Adams expressed pride in all that has been accomplished in the seven years of the ArtsAlive program.
“The public sculptures have generated interest, debate sometimes even controversy, all of which is healthy and important in engaging in community building,” she said.
Adams is concerned about the future of the program, saying she does not “want to see it diminished especially at this time of a pandemic-altered reality. Wellness is well documented to be one of the benefits of the arts, and I feel public art helps to give some respite to the serious conditions of our lives.”
Adams, who taught at Monterey school for 10 years, was chosen for the arts laureate role because of her devotion to art and innovative ways of promoting art in the community. Adams built Monterey’s art room and started an artist-in-the-school program that became self-funded and a money maker for the art department.
She asked that council move forward with the plan to build a casual performance/meeting area at Turkey Head, and consider creating areas near installed art for interaction by groups such as school classes, complementing visual art with opportunities for music, dance, lectures or readings.
“It’s a wonderful legacy that our past arts laureate has left for our community,” said Coun. Hazel Braithwaite. “And I think it’s something she should be very proud of.”
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