Arts News: Changes afoot for Festivals Events & Animation 

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Planning is under way for the 2012 Festival Events & Animation (FE&A) program and — surprise, surprise! — RMOW staff has learned a few lessons from last year's program.

In a report to council Tuesday evening (March 6), Jan Jansen, general manager of resort experience, explained some of the lessons that will help the planning for 2012 — and planning topped the list.

"It's no surprise, we need more time to plan," Jansen said.

He also explained that the program needs more funds invested in marketing; that no single program will attract visitors, but that "layers of experience" are needed to create an attractive cultural landscape; and that all cultural products and programs are meant to support the central Whistler experience of sport recreation.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden complimented staff's work on the report, saying, "There was a lot of commentary (on FE&A) and through the (2011 election) campaign , and what we were looking for was a balance between bureaucracy on the one hand and flexibility, nimbleness and expertise on the other. I think this plan will work. I personally see it as a work in progress."

Council voted to establish an FE&A oversight committee, as well as a Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) oversight committee that will provide quarterly reports and increase the involvement of Tourism Whistler and the Hotel Association of Whistler in its decision-making processes. Both committees will report directly to the council finance and audit committee.

The FE&A oversight committee will include a representative from both the RMOW and Tourism Whistler along with a member-at-large chairperson. It will oversee a FE&A working group that will provide input into program development, and will include representatives from the Whistler Arts Council, Tourism Whistler, the Whistler Museum and Archives, Whistler Blackcomb and other stakeholders in the community.

Last year's $2.6 million FE&A program, which included the Whistler Presents free concert series throughout the summer, was funded through the Resort Municipality Initiative funds (RMI). Jansen said that the RMOW is proceeding with the 2012 program with the belief that they will receive the same amount as last year.

Council also voted unanimously to direct staff to submit another application to the Government of Canada Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF) requesting funds to assist in the renovation of the Rainbow Theatre, and to commit to the $338,000 of RMI funds already set aside in the 2011 and 2012 budgets for the project.

As previously reported, the RMOW had previously applied to PCH for the CCSF grant on behalf of the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) but was denied under the assumption that the provincial and municipal governments weren't chipping in enough for the project, and because the project did not meet CCSF requirements.


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