Local people interested in the arts and cultural life in the Sooke region came together last fall to discuss where to go next in the Sooke Region Cultural Planning process. Those interested in implementing the plan meet on Feb. 21.

Inaugural meeting set for arts/cultural planning group

The next step in the cultural plan for the Sooke region

Sooke Region residents are strong supporters of the arts, music, and local heritage, as evidenced by the many dedicated volunteers who are essential in organizing and hosting cultural events held throughout the year.  Supporters began to look for ways to strengthen local heritage and creative arts, by cultivating partnerships and community capacity and expanding events within the region.

With a goal of building upon the region’s unique cultural heritage, a Sooke Region Cultural Plan (SRCP) was undertaken, providing a framework and process for guiding the enhancement and appreciation of local heritage and culture, creating a vibrant art community, and increasing tourism.  2010 Legacies Now and Creative City Network of Canada served as a guide for the SRCP, which was a collaboration of and funded by the District of Sooke, Juan de Fuca Economic Development, Sooke Community Arts Council, Sooke Region Tourism and the Sooke Fine Arts Society.

The first step in the SRCP process was Cultural Mapping, to assess residents’ views, which became the ArtsWave Project and was completed in August 2010. ArtsWave utilized a variety of surveys, public consultations and interviews with residents, youth, and arts and cultural organizations, resulting in a community profile of the strengths and challenges for enhancing arts and culture within the region and a list of priorities and areas of interest.

Over the course of 2011, volunteers from various sectors of the region met to discuss the community input gathered by the ArtsWave project; this collaboration resulted in the Sooke Region Cultural Plan, the full report is available by email request to  sookeseasideculture@yahoo.ca attention: Debbie Clarkston.   Subsequently, in October 2011, the Cultural Mapping volunteers held a Cultural Summit at the Sooke Harbour House to share the Cultural Plan with the community.

The Cultural Plan calls upon all partners:

“Government, community and the private-sector to work together to enhance the quality of life for all citizens, establish a sense of pride, and create a shared identity as a region with a powerful draw to live, work, play, visit and create.”

Subsequently, the Sooke Region Cultural Planning Advisory Committee (SRCPAC) prepared a business plan and implementation strategy in order to “create a diverse and vibrant arts, cultural, heritage, culinary arts and agriculture sector in the Sooke region that will encourage participation, support and appreciation of the creative arts by residents and visitors, and expand economic opportunities for artists and businesses by making the Sooke region a cultural destination for residents and visitors.”

It is hoped residents will be inspired to join others in implementing the Sooke Region Cultural Plan. The inaugural meeting is on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Sooke Harbour House Potlatch Room. Join us!

If you are interested in working with the group to expand the Sooke region’s arts, culture, heritage, culinary arts and agricultural sectors into a vibrant and inclusive cultural destination, please contact Debbie Clarkston at 250-216-8582 or via email atsookeseasideculture@yahoo.ca .