Art and culture is there for all of us

Petra Hoogenes is the number 2 of Nieuw Elan in the municipal council and on the electoral list. She is committed to art, culture and heritage. She took part in the Culture Debate on behalf of Nieuw Elan, but: “I know that much more is possible than people think.”

Hoogenes is in Nieuw Elan, which attaches great importance to sport, the force behind the scenes that also breaks many a lance for art, culture and heritage. During the Culture Debate on Wednesday 9 March, organized by Khabbaz, in Theater Castellum, she says: “Connection arises from art and culture. That is why we must preserve it.”

Preservation is the key word, because despite the fact that the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn scores relatively low on the national culture ladder, the city council has not been idle in recent years. “The Culture Vision just didn’t want to get off the ground. As a council, we had to reject the policy document several times because it was too much about the stones and not about the culture itself and there was too little vision for the future. But, last year was finally laid out a good plan for the future.”

Now that the vision is there, the municipality can also continue with the sector. After all, there is now a plan for various projects. The ‘bricks’ have largely been arranged in recent years with a renovated theater and new construction for the library. In these ‘bricks’, nice connections and projects have already been started in a short time, despite the corona crisis.

Own culture pot
“The bricks should be much more open. Everyone should be able to just walk in, without barriers. For example, school musicals can also be programmed in the theaters and halls,” says Hoogenes. “Not all art and culture costs a lot of money. Many initiatives are not that expensive at all. For these kinds of small projects, there must therefore be an own earmarked culture fund. Just as well as there are small social subsidies.”

Wider setup
Hoogenes also sees missed opportunities. Then no extra money is needed at all, but a project can be set up much broader so that existing funds can be used. For example, the neighborhood sports coaches were joined last year by culture coaches, paid for by the social policy of the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn.

National funds
“I also see national funds that we can use. Art and culture also play a role in schools. There is now a new fund, Rijke Schooldag for students, which we can lay claim to. And if it turns out that children play the piano, for example If you like it, this also provides new members for a music school, so as a municipality we really have to address that fund,” says Hoogenes. “I also think that lonely elderly people benefit from a joint art and culture experience. Vital can be used for this, for example.” In short: not every suitable pot needs a ‘culture’ stamp.

Hoogenes does miss the municipal heritage in the debate. “Heritage is very important. Often small initiatives are needed to draw attention to our cultural heritage. Finally, some cool things are now visible, which are about our Roman past. We must continue with that.”

Municipality has to cut down
As far as Hoogenes is concerned, the bureaucracy must stay away from the arts and culture sector. And above all: “The municipality must stop coming up with plans. The creative sector itself can do that very well. In addition, residents and organizations come up with many great plans and projects. The municipality must above all support and facilitate them.”

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