Culture and tourism come together
April 1, 2014
Artists and tourism stakeholders gather at the Haliburton School of the Arts on March 26, taking part in a brainstorming meeting facilitated by the Haliburton Highlands Arts Council and the Haliburton County tourism department. Participants came up with ideas to further promote arts and culture in the area.
By Angelica Blenich
The arts and culture sector within the county is vital to the health of tourism in the Haliburton Highlands and Amanda Ranson wants to see that partnership expand. The director of tourism for Haliburton County met with area artists, stakeholders and culture advocates at a meeting facilitated by the Haliburton Highlands Arts Council on March 26 to gather input and feedback on supporting the arts in the community. Held at the Haliburton School of the Arts, approximately 40 people participated in a brainstorming session to discuss further expansion of local galleries, festivals, events and other “gems” within the county. Arts council chairwoman Chris Lynd applauded Ranson, who stepped into the tourism director role within the last year, for recognizing that arts and culture is a pillar of tourism in the Highlands. “This is the first time, I think, that I can remember where someone has stood up and said that the arts, culture and heritage [has an impact] on tourism,” said Lynd. “This is important to us, this is a great step.” Ranson outlined some of the areas she has targeted since assuming the role as tourism director, including developing a brand for the county, establishing a new logo (#MyHaliburtonHighlands) and incorporating social media into marketing and promotions for the area. While there are many popular “cultural gems” in the Highlands, such as the Sculpture Forest, the Haliburton County Studio Tour and the Arts and Crafts Festival, there are many undiscovered attractions in the area. Examples of these, compiled by those in attendance, included Winter Folk Camp, water and hiking trails, the Festival of the August Moon, mineral tours and more.
Questions to provoke discussion were posed to participants at a Arts, Culture, Heritage and Tourism meeting on March 26 at the Haliburton School of the Arts. Ideas on how to incorporate social media into promotion and work alongside the county’s tourim department were brought up.
Participants were then asked to brainstorm ideas on how to polish these undiscovered gems.
Ideas included helping stakeholders use social media in new and different ways, organizing a distribution system for promotional materials, organizing familiarization tours and getting more young people involved with arts and culture organizations.
“Gems polish gems,” said Laurie Carmount, curator of the Agnes Jamieson Gallery, suggesting that those behind established events and organizations could help mentor and guide new artists, groups or events.
Going forward Ranson encouraged those involved in the arts and culture sector to contact her for help with promotion and marketing.
“We are a community, send me an email,” she said. “It’s me running the [county] social media. I’m a resource; use me.”