Mayor seeks ‘arts laureate’

Initiative intended to promote local artists, businesses

To make the presence and quality of Oak Bay artists even more well known, Mayor Nils Jensen is proposing the appointment of an arts laureate to champion the district’s talents.

Oak Bay has six art galleries in its core, multiple art groups, two studio tours a year and enough artists to easily fill the 22-stop roster on the spring studio tour. An arts laureate is being touted as a way to raise exposure and promote this abundance.

“I think there’s a great interest in the community in art,” Jensen said. “We have a very active art community.”

The ideal candidate is seen as someone active in the art community to represent Oak Bay art as a whole and work towards its promotion in a variety of ways. The person would organize promotional events, coordinate marketing and help bring groups together.

“This is a way we can promote tourism and business in Oak Bay, having a person who can act as an art coordinator,” Jensen said. “I’m sure there’s a perfect person somewhere in Oak Bay for that.”

Funding of $2,500 has been secured from Oak Bay Tourism and is going to be matched by the district. Jensen is now hoping the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association considers supporting the project.

Jensen is eager to have the laureate in place by late summer or early fall, but said that will depend on funding and finding the right person for the task.