North Hastings cultural plan is ready to go 0
Kevin Mills will be in charge of implementing the North Hastings Cultural Plan.
The cultural plan for North Hastings is officially complete and ready for implementation. After a year of public meetings and consultation, the document contains a series of recommendations for the community to take control of the cultural strength found within the region and create what has been deemed as a creative economy; benefiting local business and artisans.
With the work of Jacquie Lopez in compiling the plan complete, Kevin Mills has recently been hired as the Creative Communities Project Coordinator to begin the extensive process of implementing some of the recommendations that have been set within the document.
By nature an artist, Mills feels that he provides a passion for the expressive environment of North Hasting that drew himself and his wife to the area to begin their web-development company after a career as a pastor for 10 years.
He feels that he can bring his years of working with people to create connections will be a plus moving into the implementation process which surrounds creating creative networks throughout the greater community of North Hastings.
"In working with people for many years, I feel that I being an almost diplomatic edge to the job," jokes Mills in saying that the major focus of his work with the new plan is to begin creating those connections between all sectors of the community to create a unified cultural front for the community.
Within the cultural plan, one of the key recommendations is to create what is being deemed the Cultural Coalition, a collection of local artists, managers, municipal leaders and business people working together to create the cultural environment in North Hastings. The task now facing Mills is to begin talking to different people throughout the arts and business communities to represent their sectors in this group and stem the remaining recommendations on a regular basis.
One of the major challenges that face this facilitation process will be the inclusion of municipal representation on this coalition. With the hope that decisions made on a policy and by-law level with the cultural sector in mind, he says that it is important that representatives from the councils are at the table to bring the needs of this potential boom for the region at the forefront.
"I think that it is possible," says Mills. "There is enough precedence in areas like Prince Edward County that this kind of cultural focus can prove to be a draw to communities and be a boom for the local economy."
"The numbers speak for themselves, this is a powerful direction."
Mills says that the numbers are already proving the strength of the cultural sector in North Hastings.
He has begun working with Andrew Redden, Economic Development Officer for Hastings County, on the regionally focused Arts Route project being spearheaded by the County. Mapping different studios and art hubs in North, Central and South Hastings County, the goal is to create a way for visitors to take advantage of some of the artistic talent that can be found throughout the area as well as provide new exposure to the creative sector.
With the maps now being compiled, Mills says that Redden and the County have suggested that North Hastings is leading the way on the Arts Route project offering their support in anyway possible, defining the community as the cultural hub of Hastings County.
"The momentum is there to do something really special with this project," says Mills.
Mills will continue working on implementing the plan throughout the year with the financial assistance from the Ontario Ministry of Culture to the tune of $37,000. He says to look to the end of August for further information on the formation of an official Cultural Coalition and other plans to implement the newly formed plan.