RELEASE — The City of Kingston has made a number of organizational changes aimed at providing continuity of service, adding focus to key initiatives outlined in the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan and supporting Kingston through the pandemic and its recovery. The changes below go into effect on May 10.
To better target services supporting the arts, culture and heritage-related needs of our community, the City will reframe its Cultural Services department as Arts & Culture Services and create a new Heritage Services department.
To assist with pandemic recovery and implement a number of economic development strategies, resources will be added to the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships – including the addition of a new Rural Economic & Community Development Manager.
New departments to nurture arts, culture and heritage
“Through these two departments, the City is demonstrating its continued commitment to excellence, engagement, and investment in the arts, culture and heritage. This was a strategy first developed through the Kingston Culture Plan and it is intended to help us build capacity and momentum to strengthen the positioning of Kingston as a city that values the arts, culture and heritage,” says Paige Agnew, Commissioner of Community Services.
The new Heritage Services department combines the City’s Heritage Planning division with its Cultural Heritage division. Heritage planning staff will continue to guide land-use planning, City-wide development processes and the implementation of the City of Kingston Archaeological Master Plan while the Cultural Heritage staff will continue to oversee the City’s museums and the Civic Artifact Collection as well as community-wide interpretive projects and heritage activations.
Heritage Services will also lead the City’s developing Indigenous Initiatives portfolio and foster an integrated and systems-based approach to incorporating and honouring Indigenous knowledge in the work of the City.
“This is about preserving and enlivening heritage in all its forms and puts us on the cutting edge of heritage management in Ontario,” says Jennifer Campbell, Director, Heritage Services. “We will champion innovation in the stewardship of Kingston’s rich cultural heritage – natural, tangible and intangible. We will also support the post-pandemic recovery of the cultural tourism and hospitality sectors, which rely on our significant heritage assets and associated programs to attract visitors.”
Arts & Culture Services
The Arts & Culture Services department will continue to focus on the delivery of core services, including asset management, arts programming, sector development and cultural development related to facilities like the Grand Theatre along with the Public Art Program, arts funding, and partnerships with key arts organizations like the Kingston Arts Council, Kingston Theatre Alliance and the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning.
“The arts and culture sectors are among the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue to support these important sectors and their recovery post-pandemic. Implementing the newly approved Creative Industries Strategy will be central to these efforts as it outlines strategic work to be undertaken in collaboration with Kingston Economic Development Corporation and Tourism Kingston related to film, music and theatre that contribute to Kingston’s cultural vitality,” says Colin Wiginton, Director, Arts & Culture Services.
As circumstances allow, Arts & Culture Services will also look toward re-opening the Grand Theatre, generating paid presentations and programming opportunities for local artists, and focusing on supporting specific people and groups within Kingston, including artists and creatives, cultural groups, and arts participants and audiences.
Office of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships grows to support recovery and economic strategies
“The impacts of the pandemic have required the strengthening of a number of strategic collaborations in Kingston. The changes to this Office are meant to foster innovation and alignment and make efficient use of city and community resources as we move toward economic recovery,” says Craig Desjardins, Director, Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships.
A new Rural Economic & Community Development Manager position and the City’s current Business Support Manager will be added to this office to support the implementation of various strategies including:
- The Integrated Economic Development Strategy
- The Rural Economic Development Strategy approved at the May 4 Council meeting
- The health innovation hub now in development
This Office will also support for the work of the Kingston Economic Recovery Team and the continued implementation of the workforce development and innovation strategies.