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Arts laureate position opens to residents outside of Oak Bay

If Oak Bay wants a community arts council, that’s on residents
Clockwise from top left, six of the 10 ArtsAlive sculptures that went on display around Oak Bay for 2019, Ebb and Flow (Russell Pap), Me and My Quiet Thoughts (Wan-Li Lin and Roger Chen), Jelly (Nathan Smith), Reflect and Connect (William Frymire), Portal (Heather Passmore), Where We Come Together (Jim Unger). (File photos Courtesy District of Oak Bay)

Oak Bay’s new Parks, Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee is just shy of final approval after council, sitting as committee, approved its terms of reference.

The committee also approved a revised description for its arts laureate position during the March 21 meeting and the goal is to have both filled by the end of the year.

The The Parks, Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee mandate is to provide a community perspective and advice to council on parks, recreation and culture in Oak Bay, with an emphasis on inclusivity and creating healthy, active living opportunities for residents of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

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The advisory group will include up to seven volunteer members appointed by council, with a council liaison appointed by the mayor. The arts laureate, also appointed by council, will be a non-voting member, providing regular updates to promote projects or request aid for implementation.

Oak Bay will seek members with a broad range of skills, experience and interests related to its mandate around parks, recreation, arts and culture, and will endeavour to achieve diverse representation related to characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity and ability. Members will be appointed for terms of one to two years, but can reapply.

Council opted to have a two-thirds resident majority for the committee and while an Oak Bay resident would be preferred, it is not a requirement for the laureate position.

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The arts laureate acts as an arts and culture ambassador and community arts liaison. They work to raise the profile of Oak Bay’s vibrant artistic community and advocate for the arts in the community. After a successful seven-year run, the term of Oak Bay’s inaugural arts laureate, Barbara Adams drew to a close in February 2021.

Council tweaked the terms for the laureate – while they will be appointed to a four-year term, the next appointee will serve roughly two years, so the appointment date falls mid council term, as opposed to an election year every time.

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During earlier discussion to craft the advisory committee, council asked how it might support a citizen focused development of a Community Arts Council. While that onus is on the community to develop, staff did offer in the short term to serve as a resource to interested citizens to help them explore and navigate the process.

Decisions made at committee become recommendations to council for approval.

Council meets most Mondays at 6 p.m. at municipal hall with the meetings streamed online at

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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