Is Whitehorse a community that values its culture or is it merely a place people move to in order to make money?
When questioning the usefulness of municipal expenditures on public art, city council should consider that public art reflects a municipality’s values and aspirations. Its presence, or absence, shapes the identity of place.
Public art helps to build community. Like many Canadian cites, Whitehorse is ethnically diverse. Public art reflects culture back to its citizens and builds bridges.
Public art enhances the daily experiences of citizens whether it is a street sculpture or paintings in public buildings. People may move to Whitehorse for jobs. But they stay because of the lifestyle, the culture.
Social scientist Richard Florida argues that thriving economies require the presence of highly educated workers and entrepreneurs. These individuals are attracted to places that offer rich cultural experiences. Public art is an integral component of a city’s cultural environment.
Public art is an asset to tourism, the only reliable economy we have. Cultural tourism is increasing everywhere. Whitehorse is becoming known for its artists.
Public art is not a frill.