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Council hears call for arts position

Garrah said such a position would be able to co-ordinate a number of arts initiatives, including Arts Jasper and other volunteer groups.

“It is the perfect time not only to rethink the way the arts benefit a community… it’s the perfect time to show how a co-ordinated effort with a focus can benefit the community in all its capacities,” Garrah said.

Garrah’s current position is funded through the rural Alberta development fund, which will continue until 2011. At that point, Garrah’s position must be sustainable. The town of Jasper contributes $5,000 to creative campus.

Garrah said the new position could help co-ordinate sharing between other communities, such as dancing and music. Jasper and Hinton have a strong dance program, which could travel to Grande Cache in exchange for music programming. The community has been missing such a position for some time, she said.

“There has never been a ‘body/person’ in place with many of the town’s events to take the role of co-ordinator. It has been left to individuals or non-profits or even volunteers to take this role. I don’t think I need to go into the details of volunteer burnout,” Garrah said.

Coun. Ralph Melnyk asked if a new position could co-ordinate with festivals currently held in the community.

“It would be inclusive of those things,” Garrah said. “You can’t have those events without an arts component.”

Mayor Richard Ireland asked Garrah to list some of the tangible benefits an arts co-ordinator position could bring to the town. He said the town recognizes the benefits of art, but could benefit from examining more of the practical applications of the proposed position.

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