I recently finished my portrait of Greg Moore, the Mayor of Port Coquitlam, and had the opportunity to present it to him at the start of the first council meeting of 2015.
While walking through Leigh Square with Greg that day we discussed the idea of his portrait and we made arrangements for a photo shoot as his time is limited. His office was the ideal location with the light streaming in from the window. The addition of the Terry Fox painting, by Cliff Kearns, was an element Greg wanted to have displayed and one that I was eager to paint.
During the presentation the council was welcoming and the presentation provided me with an opportunity to talk about art & culture within the city.
Over my lifetime I have found the general consensus towards the arts to be that of dismissive and unimportant. Non-caring if you will.
“Improve our roads and transit, lower our taxes and give more money towards sports.” is how it usually goes. Don’t get me wrong, these are all 100% valid avenues of progress and direction for the city.
Arts and Culture are more an invisible necessity. It’s the architecture of new buildings, the addition of green space, parks, well designed walkways, murals and public art. An example of this is the new Leigh Square facility, amphitheater and green space.
It provides an area that residents want to use, to enjoy, all while they sip their coffee or hot chocolate, watching their kids play thinking about how to ask the city to improve the roads and transit, lower their taxes and get that funding for their child’s sports team. :D
Arts and culture are important to the health of a community without the residence realizing it.
Think of it this way, would you rather walk through Leigh Square during a farmers market with artists painting, musicians playing and kids running around the bronze maypole sculpture with the sounds of water gurgling from a reflecting pool, or walk through a parking lot?”
I am asking the council to be the ones to keep arts and culture alive in the city for the betterment of the community as a whole and for those residents that are directly involved in creating the arts, like myself.
The highlight of the evening was the final presentation of the portrait to the Major. The piece is to represent a period of time in Greg’s life where he has served the community and his family well.