The City of Nanaimo is in the process of developing a new cultural plan. A resident asked me the other day why we would bother planning for culture and what is the point of culture anyway? I have found that when people ask questions like this it is usually because they don’t understand what culture is or why it is so important for cities and the people who live in them. So I decided to explain by asking them to imagine a Nanaimo without culture.
Without culture there would be no pictures on our walls and our kids would not learn to draw or paint. There would be no designers, engineers or architects so our clothes would look all the same and so would our cars and our houses.
Think of what life in Nanaimo would be like without music? You couldn’t listen to music in your car, at the office or on your iPod. There would be no concerts to go to and no music at the hockey game if there would even be a hockey game (hockey is part of our culture). Nanaimo would not have radio or television, no video games and no opportunities to see a play or show because there would be no actors. There would be no writers and therefore no libraries or books and our children would never learn the joy of reading. There would be no parks, gardens, trails or beaches to enjoy!
A Nanaimo without culture would be boring, empty, bland, sterile, sad, bleak and stressful. Our economic health would be adversely affected because we would not be able to attract young, skilled creative professionals to live, work and invest here. Without culture there would be no history, personality, cultural diversity or uniqueness. Without culture people would not choose to live here.
Culture enriches our lives by providing enjoyment and appreciation of all creative endeavors. Through culture our lives are enriched by engaging with and learning from other people and cultures. Culture opens our minds to new perspectives through dialogue that is interesting, challenging, thought provoking and goes beyond the mundane. Culture inspires and brings joy, value and purpose to our lives.
Culture increases connection and community. It creates synergy and reason for celebration. It reflects and honours all cultures. It supports and encourages all creative people from artists to creative professionals resulting in increased economic prosperity.
Can you imagine a Nanaimo without culture?