The City of Kitchener hosted a special session earlier today bringing together more than 40 arts and culture leaders from across Waterloo Region. This collaborative session, held in Downtown Kitchener, asked industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing arts and creative industries in our community in a post-COVID-19 world.    

“Throughout the past two years of the pandemic, the arts and culture sector has experienced some of the most significant challenges and setbacks of any sector,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “Bringing together local arts industry leaders and practitioners and the City of Kitchener will help kickstart an important cultural shift in Kitchener as we look to build the sector back, both stronger and differently.”  

 Selected to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in 2021, the City is working with local arts and culture leaders and benefitting from world-class innovation advice to begin developing a culture plan aimed at ensuring arts and culture continue to be a top priority in the city’s strategic plan and vision for the future.   

“There are amazing artists, creators and arts organizations in this community,” said Emily Robson, Manager, Arts and Creative Industries, City of Kitchener. “The work these folks do in our community and beyond fosters connection, understanding, vibrancy and economic activity. Together, we’re committed to finding ways to support and amplify this work.”   

The future Culture Plan will set out a vision for arts and culture in the community and identify tangible ways to achieve this vision. Ultimately, the goal is to have a variety of exciting, engaging and meaningful experiences for residents and visitors to enjoy and the resources in place to support artists, creators and organizations to deliver these experiences.   

“Mayors and city leaders face enormous and complex challenges, but they also have significant opportunities to improve residents’ quality of life,” said George Veth of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. “Our program helps city leaders build skills and tools for successful collaboration, inside and outside of government, to solve problems.” 

Each year, 40 mayors worldwide and their cities are selected to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard initiative, a program that aims to advance leadership, management, and innovation in cities by equipping mayors and senior city officials with skills, tools, and techniques to tackle municipal challenges. This year, City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and senior leaders have the privilege of being part of the program jointly hosted by Harvard University and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Mayor Vrbanovic identified collaboration around arts and culture as a community priority, in conjunction with the City’s senior leaders participating in the program.  

Aligned with the City’s strategic plan, and the Make It Kitchener 2.0 strategy focused on building a vibrant economy, the City will support local knowledge and talent in an intensive approach to creating change and helping attract, develop and retain a world-class arts and culture scene for our community. To learn more about the city’s strategic plan visit,    


For more information:  
Bethany Rowland  
Director, Corporate Communications & Marketing  
City of Kitchener   

George Veth, Senior Research Fellow, Innovations in Government Program 
Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative   |   617-797-1601 


The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative—the flagship program of the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University—is a collaboration between Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to equip mayors and senior city officials to tackle complex challenges in their cities and improve the quality of life of their citizens. Launched in 2017, the Initiative has worked with 429 mayors and 1,400 senior city officials in 494 cities worldwide. The Initiative has also advanced research and developed new curriculum and teaching tools to help city leaders solve real-world problems. For more information, please visit the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative or visit us on LinkedIn and Twitter.