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The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival attracts people to Whistler. The Whistler Film Festival is gaining momentum and is also attracting international attention. Whistler is diversifying not from a need to attract tourists, but from a need to evolve this town into a well-rounded, and satisfying place to live and learn.
"I think the arts can help support vacationers choice in selecting Whistler. It may never be the sole determination for coming here, but by increasing visitors awareness of what we have to offer it can significantly influence their decision to come here and their length of stay."
"Whistler cannot expect to retain viable businesses if we depend on skiing only. Businesses are now aware that they need to diversify in order to remain competitive. They are looking at growing the arts from a business perspective rather than a philosophical one."
The success and growth of the arts depends on the creation of events that have a mind to go further. The Whistler Film Festival is a strong example of this. Over the last three years, it has grown responsibly and relentlessly. There are intermittent screenings at the Rainbow Theatre and also the summer showings at Lost Lake. Momentum is maintained. To influence and expand the community, there needs to be more consistent arts activities. This continuum does not necessarily have to be from the self-same group. Once the B-Grade Horror Fest is done, minds turn to the Filmmakers Showdown. The baton-passing from one groups event to another marks the ability of Whistler to feed the people what they want and to share responsibility for creating meaningful avenues for artistic expression. There needs to be arts activity in the present that is part of a trajectory, to connect the dots, to become embedded in Whistlers identity.
"I no longer feel isolated in my own pursuit or the pursuit of those things that interest writers"
As for the future, there is massive potential. There has to be funding for the arts, there has to be teamwork and support. More people need to step up to bat, awareness of the presence of the arts in Whistler has to be increased.