“If you are passionate about something – pursue it with all you’ve got.”
This is the belief of our new West Shore Arts Council president Laura Davis, who aims to give back to the local arts community by promoting public understanding and appreciation of the arts.
A classically trained soprano, Davis has been singing since the age of 12. Having been musically trained since her youth, she acknowledges dance, music, theatre, film and the fine arts to be necessary parts of the social fabric of every community.
“Our West Shore community has grown tremendously over the last five years,” said Davis, “and with this growth many aspects of a healthy community have evolved.”
While sports venues, restaurants, shopping destinations, parks and green space are vibrant parts of our community, she said the only area we are not fully embracing so far is a community space dedicated to the arts.
“We have the lovely Coast Collective Art Gallery for the fine arts and a few small venues for performance, but we have limited infrastructure of any capacity for the performing arts,” Davis said.
As both a consumer and a performer, she understands this type of development is extremely important for a growing community such as ours. Also important to Davis is the pursuit of a performing arts and cultural centre in the area. There is currently a hush from community leaders with respect to a plan for such regional infrastructure, she said.
A centre such as this would be perfectly suited to host many events, a point already determined by consultants’ reports, letters of interest and community forum indicators over the last two years.
The West Shore Arts Council hosts concerts and partners with existing events and festivals to bring the arts to the public. The Council also provides bursaries for high school students, support for education in the arts and a music program for Youth at Risk and continually applies for grants to further support the arts on the West Shore. Perhaps most significant, Davis noted, is the Council’s role as a community advocate with the aim of providing enriching arts experiences for residents, as well as support for local artists.
With a background in event planning, financial management and grant writing, plus extensive experience in leadership roles, Davis has much to offer in furthering the Arts Council’s goals. She sees the organization as a hub of knowledge for art happenings and an advocate for arts growth and sustainability on the West Shore.
Find out more about the West Shore Arts Council by visiting westshorearts.org.
– Kristi Hoffmann is the Council’s communication and outreach co-ordinator