(From the Archives) Why Arts are Vital to Oak Bay

January 17, 2018

Originally published November 3, 2014


Arts are often seen as a "nice to have" amenity, but for a community such as Oak Bay, Arts form a vital pillar of our long-term success.


First, a disclaimer: the Arts are near and dear to my heart. Prior to entering Engineering at the University of Victoria, I did a dual major in high school in Mathematics and Fine Art, followed by a one-year certificate program in commercial art and design. I am still an amateur enthusiast photographer and sometimes sketcher. In addition to volunteering with local art events it has been a privilege to serve on the Greater Victoria Library Board for the last six years, helping develop the inter-relationships between the Library, Art Gallery, Symphony, Museum, and other institutions.


The arts are in important part of our community and an important part of individual development. Our arts-related businesses and events draw people from the region and around the world to Oak Bay, boosting our local economy and contributing to our community vibrancy. These include:

  • Art galleries that showcase both local and international artists

  • The Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA), which brings 85 performance-arts students from across Canada and over 20 supporting faculty to Oak Bay, bringing around $2 million in direct financial investment

  • Grass-roots organizations hosting arts-related events

We need, as a community, to support the modest leadership position Oak Bay has attained as an arts destination, and believe the creation of the Arts Laureate is a great start.


My priorities for the Arts include:

  • Help grass-roots community organizations and the Business Improvement Association (BIA) host events that promote Oak Bay artists and galleries to the broader region

  • Support the Arts Laureate with the ongoing visual public art programs

  • Aide in the promotion of local galleries and their efforts to see Oak Bay as a commercial fine-arts destination

  • Finding a new home for the CCPA in Oak Bay

  • Host more community-wide open-air events like “music in the park” 

  • Encourage the many musical and theatre productions held in church halls, high school theatre, and Oak Bay Beach Hotel David Foster dinner theatre

  • Support he many fine art-related events such as the Bowker Creek Brush-Up and Artists’ Studio Tours

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 © 2018 by Kevin Murdoch