bc arts cuts
All the results from the BC Arts Council are trickling in slowly this summer.
Massive cuts are being implemented for all operating clients and some are being cut completely.
However, what's really interesting is that our Province is promising additional funds for BC Arts Council operating clients through the 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy Fund.
The Vancouver Foundation sent out a notice yesterday about how they are going to increase their funding efforts to help those groups that were hurt by the government funding cuts last year. I think this is a great move but I hope the government will - eventually - restore the funding they have promised. It isn't the best solution as any foundation out there won't be able to "save" the day.
Guess what y'all?
When Kim Cattrall received her Star on Canada's Walk of Fame this week, she questioned BC's provincial arts cuts.
She noted that she got her start as an actor right here in Comox, BC and that without such provincial funding for the arts, she would not be where she is today.
Apparently Minister Krueger didn't hear about this (even though it was reported and all over Facebook). His reply yesterday when questioned about a response to Kim Cattrall's comment was: "I didn't hear about that. But I don't know how much she would know about all this. She isn't living in the province."
Hmm, so now you have to be living in BC in order to know that the provincial government is seriously slashing arts funding? Or maybe you just can't be an artist because you couldn't possibly understand that the BC Liberals are truly giving lots of money to the arts and we just don't get it? According to Minister Krueger, the media is sorely mistaken and the BC Liberals are giving MORE money to the arts this year as compared to last year. Even though the gaming funding has been cut for many arts groups by 100%.
Perhaps the truth is what we all know - this provincial government is DESTROYING arts funding through its cuts to gaming funding and the BC Arts Council. We need more artists and audiences to speak out to this government and remind them of the truth as we know it to be. There's a long road ahead.
Following yesterday’s Grey Rally, the mainstream media has slowly started to pick up on the protest (in particular 24 Hours). The visual they’ve keyed in on is a young art student lying on the ground like he’s been shot with what looks like rose petals come out of his mouth.
I can think of few things more offensive than creating a visual connection between the cuts to arts funding and human rights abuses taking place in other countries. No one yesterday was in any remote danger of being killed or tortured for speaking their minds. We have only had our funding cut, not our voices or freedoms. Big difference.
Not only was it offensive, it was also stupid. I can think of nothing more likely to turn off the general public to the argument being made to restore funding the arts than stunts like this one. It makes the whole community look like pretentious wankers.
Oh well, at least he got his picture in the paper and on news clips, so at least he got something out of it. Even if it set back the cause several paces.
It's time for the arts community in B.C. to stop blithely mouthing arts platitudes and make its points with focused artwork and incisive humour. Make people laugh at a government that makes claims of greatness for British Columbia and yet treats the arts as though this is an Arkansas backwater. With the Olympics looming, artists can do this on a stage that will give the government pause. Mock the bloviating architects of these arts funding cuts in a way that's seen by patrons of every Cultural Olympiad event. What does "$1 = $1.38" mean? Make sure everyone understands.
With everything that has been going over this last week, Plank Magazine has been doing a little inventing. We've thought a more appropriate ratings system was in order for arts and culture in our beautiful province. Feel free to download and post this new ratings system at your venue or on your own website.
Okay y'all - buckle your seatbelts because here comes the BC budget!
Surprise, surprise - Finance Minister Colin Hansen will be projecting a much higher deficit than the $495 million version offered last February.
We'll know more soon... when the budget comes down about 2:45 p.m.
But just to recap the fun of yesterday for a minute.
Apparently the NDP opposition hammered the BC Liberals about the arts cuts in the Legislature. In fact, Doug Donaldson (NDP MLA from Stikine) said the timing of the cuts has left community organizations in the lurch and pointed to the Bulkley Fall Fair, which was under way in Smithers last weekend when organizers were told their $20,000 grant was cancelled.
In response, Minister Kevin Kruger said the cuts reflect the government's priorities. He stated: “Would any member on the opposite side of the House argue that a program to fund nutritional and similar programs in schools for underprivileged children is a lower priority than fall fairs? Not everyone can be funded. Tough decisions have to be made.”
It's nice to know just what our new Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts thinks of the arts sector. Low priority. Maybe he didn't realize that the Bulkley Fall Fair is having its 90th anniversary this year. Or that the funding for underprivileged children through the CommunityLINK program is supposed to come from the Ministry of Education's budget.
While friends in the arts lose jobs because of the withdrawal of Direct Access funding, The Province newspaper reports today that $2.86 million will be made available to “celebrate the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay”.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Kevin Krueger, said the funds are being released so communities can prepare to "welcome this exciting international event into their neighbourhoods."
The money will be for cultural celebrations and performances as part of the relay festival, including:
- 50 "Celebration Communities," which will host events twice a day in the afternoon and evening as the relay continues; and
- 218 "Route Communities," which will see the torch for briefer pit stops along the way, 50 of which will be at aboriginal communities and will feature a "keeper of the flame" ceremony of elders.
In a related article, also in the Province, Rich Coleman, Minister for Housing and Social Development, explained how the Government, because of the current economic mess the province is in, was forced to make difficult decisions and that grants to arts organizations lost out to “higher priorities”.
“It was not an easy decision on some of these things,” Coleman was quoted from a Global News interview. “When you think about a child arriving in school with an empty stomach that isn’t going to get the education they require, you have to decide, ‘Is that a priority, or some other thing?’
“You make the decision on behalf of the child.”
I guess that child is less important than a parade.
And that parades are more vital to the economy than people's jobs.