Update on the Cultural Policy and Action Plan review process

Last spring, the Town of Sutton announced that it had begun revising its Cultural Policy  adopted in 2007 and its action plan produced in 2012. The Policy Update Committee and Artenso, the firm hired to help the municipality develop a new cultural policy, are working together to align the new policy with local cultural needs and issues, for the benefit of our entire community.

The updating process was put on hold for a few months in order to ensure that the cultural policy was aligned  with the strategic planning undertaken by the General Administration and announced last June. The timetable proposed in April 2023 had to be adjusted.

Sutton’s cultural portrait

Artenso produced a cultural portrait of Sutton, which not only highlighted the actions carried out by the Town in terms of culture since 2012, but also identified the issues, needs, strengths and weaknesses of Sutton’s cultural milieu, as well as the actors who play a role in it. To add to the portrait, the firm met and surveyed young people from the Sutton day camp as well as citizens at two public events: the Saturday Market and a Nocturnes evening at the Sutton School of Art.

These consultations confirmed that Sutton’s great strength in terms of culture is its rich, animated, and diversified cultural milieu. Indeed, it is well known that Sutton has a strong creative heart: many artists reside here, and more than 19 cultural organizations recognized by the Town offer a variety of cultural activities on its territory. It also emerged from these meetings that mutual aid, collaboration, and community spirit are the vectors that anchor Sutton’s cultural offering in the community.

Reflection on the Policy’s Action Plan

Last November, the Policy Update Committee met to identify concrete actions that could be included in the action plan of the new cultural policy. The themes addressed during the workshop were:

  • Access and participation;
  • Outdoor spaces and infrastructures;
  • History and heritage;
  • Sutton’s cultural ecosystem.

Several possible actions were identified and will be the subject of reflection and analysis depending on the results of the public consultations which is the next step in the cultural policy update process.

The consultation of Sutton’s cultural ecosystem

From January to March 2024, the citizens of Sutton will be invited to participate in the update process through public participation activities. The purpose of the consultations is to gain a better understanding of the vision, issues and aspirations of Sutton’s population, organizations, and businesses in terms of culture. The Artenso research center is now working with the municipality to prepare the public consultations, which will be held from January 2024. This crucial stage is divided into four phases:

  • An online survey, which will be accessible from January 15 to February 19, 2024;
  • Gathering citizens’ views at Winter Pleasures, on February 10, 2024;
  • Focus groups (English and French) with local cultural organizations, to be held during the week of March 11, 2024;
  • Focus groups (English and French) with citizens, in March 2024.

Information on public consultations will be communicated gradually.

 What’s next?

In regard of the situation observed and analyzed through the cultural portrait and public consultations, the Policy Update Committee will reflect on the future and the role of culture in the municipality, as well as identify the issues and challenges faced by the administration. These reflections will help determine the guiding principles and vision of the Town of Sutton’s next cultural policy. These will be the pillars for identifying the values that will guide the policy, as well as the promising paths of action that will enable the Town and its collaborators to project themselves into the future.

Then, with these elements in mind, the committee will analyze the needs expressed by the population during public consultations to create an action plan anchored in Sutton’s reality and reflecting the cultural values, needs and aspirations of citizens, cultural organizations, and the municipality. Finally, Artenso will draft the new cultural policy and action plan for submission to the municipal council by June 2024 at the latest.

Cultural actions for the community

At the council meeting of December 6, 2023, the members of the municipal council announced that they wished to ensure the implementation of the next cultural policy action plan.

To this end, it was decided that part of the accumulated surplus, $200,000 over 4 years, would be set aside to implement the next action plan.