The arts community in Richmond gave itself a leg-up this week with the appointment of Richmond Arts Coalition’s first ever executive director.
Local businessman and singer-songwriter Rob Fillo has accepted the newly-created role at the coalition (RAC) and is already setting his sights on building the profile of the Richmond arts scene and developing the careers of artists within it.
Fillo — the owner/operator of Vancouver Media Services Inc. — said, while admitting it was a tad cliché, that he felt he was “born for the job” of promoting the arts in his home town.
“As well as increasing the advocacy of the arts, we need to increase our membership,” said Fillo, a McRoberts secondary grad, who has 20 years of experience in the public arts and music scene.
“We have a lot of ideas and we’re going to be discussing them on April 20, at our AGM at the Gateway Theatre.
“And on April 2, from 1- 3 p.m., we are going to have a members’ café meeting at Waves (Coffee) in Steveston; it’s going to be a mainline (of communication) between myself and local artists.”
Looking ahead to the bigger picture, no pun intended, in Richmond, Fillo said the two main challenges that continue to plague the local arts industry are the dearth of venues and, of course, funding.
“RAG (Richmond Art Gallery) has a mandate for contemporary art and brings in artworks from across Canada and around the world,” said Fillo.
“But we’re looking to try to bring in more art from a local perspective and also to develop the careers of our local artists.
“There is lots of talent and closet artists in Richmond; I want to give them an opportunity to get themselves seen.”
With a variety of arts-related, community-building activities, the coalition, since its inception in 2005, said of creating the new role that it has “always striven to galvanize the arts community and create great opportunities for local artists.”
“We are excited Rob has agreed to lend his energy and expertise to move our strategic plan forward,” said RAC chair Linda Barnes.
“Together, we envision a successful and bright future for RAC and the arts here in Richmond.”
RAC said Fillo has connections to a “vast community of artists and educators” and has “personable and innate community-building spirit” that makes him the “perfect fit to help bridge cultural and demographic gaps in the arts throughout Richmond.”
RAC members include artists of all forms, art organizations and supporters of the arts.
For more information on RAC, go online to RichmondArtsCoalition.com.