By Bevan Hamilton
BELLEVILLE – The founder of Belleville’s DocFest film festival says the city’s art community is ‘healthy’.
Gary Magwood spoke with QNetNews as part of our Municipal Election Project.
Magwood is running for council in the fall election, but QNetNews spoke to him as the founder of DocFest film festival and his involvement in the arts.
Magwood said the art and cultural community is key to the revitalization of Belleville’s downtown.
Magwood said the biggest issue in Belleville’s art community isn’t lack of funding, but artists and entertainers who need to take more initiative and reach out to the community instead of expecting the community to come to them.
Magwood said current council has done a good job supporting the arts, but thinks improvements could be made.
Magwood believes art advocacy on council is something he offers as a candidate for the council to be elected this fall that other candidates or current council do not offer.
Magwood doesn’t think it is necessarily the role of governments to invest large amounts of money to support the arts, but offered up a different alternative.
Magwood cited DocFest as an example. He said the city didn’t support the festival financially at all. The United Church gave them a small amount of money to get started, but it’s now financially independent.
Magwood said another idea for the city is to offer unused retail spots as possible artist’s cooperative to help them get started.
Magwood also talked about the most important issues in Belleville as a whole, primarily getting people to live downtown and connecting the waterfront to the downtown.
Magwood also stated his disapproval for the proposed casino in Belleville. He said he doesn’t think it would be a constructive addition to the community and he think there are better ways of creating revenue that won’t be as bad for the population.