Local view: Wanted cultural and artistic center

Experts also say that a cultural center for the arts in these difficult times must generate daily entrance receipts. To this end, arts centers organize celebrations, art fairs, festivals, storytelling events and art classes in rented spaces. They must have a smart gift store with a strong online sales presence. Above all, they must involve children and families and create a sense of community. No urban elitism here.

What a Vancouver Arts Center would offer: Vibrant regional art, a permanent display of Native American art unique to our region, a 1,500-seat stage for ongoing music, dance and theater productions . Enough outdoor space for special attractions.

Is it too late to partner with Native American tribes in Washington to collaborate on a museum of cultural heritage arts? Is it too late for the city to build a partnership of developers, corporate donors, and patrons who would support a unique, forward-looking facility that serves to entertain, amaze, inform, and amuse? The city and the port of Vancouver can create an arts centre. The price would be north of $60 million. Those who support this project say that such a project is feasible if the real estate is given.

In addition to the Red Lion site, there are other possible arts venues downtown – six (bare) acres between City Hall and the waterfront. The City of Vancouver could insist that an arts center be part of the development there or work with the port on a site somewhere else.

That artistic future won’t be easy to chart, writes Michael M. Kaiser, the former president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, in an online post. He warns of a “fundamental crisis” in the arts due to rising costs, stagnating household incomes and competition from cheaper digital alternatives. A cultural arts center in Vancouver gives us the opportunity to create something new that addresses these challenges. Something that embraces diversity and bold ideas. Nothing beats the “live” arts!

William E. Bennett