British Columbia, “The Best Place on Earth”? Last place on earth to find culture, too. In Canada, anyway. The piece above, silkscreened on recycled and pulped lottery tickets, is by BC artist Bill Horne. See the entire piece on his site here. As you may or may not know, slightly more than half of BC arts funding came from gaming (gambling) revenues. These funds were called gaming or “Direct Access” grants. Last year, the BC government made arts ineligible for gaming grants. BC was already last in Canada in terms of investing in provincial arts and culture, and now we are last by a very, very large margin. What is the BC government doing, gambling that BC arts can survive this spell? Why does the arts sector, which provides 80,000 jobs in BC, deserve zero investment when other industrial sectors receive such generous subsidies?
Who are we?This blog is an extension of the website Stop BC Arts Cuts. We are a loose affiliation of arts supporters, artists, curators and arts workers in British Columbia who are fighting to overturn the abrupt, severe, unwarranted, and socially and economically unwise cuts to BC public arts funding. Even before these cuts, BC's arts funding was already well below that of all other provinces of Canada: the national average for provincial arts funding is $26 per capita; BC is now at approximately $6.50 per capita, even after the recent $7m restoration of funds. Ultimately the cuts still stand at approx 50%, amounting to a giant blow for the BC sector and one that will make us uncompetitive. Many organizations are already closing their doors. Meanwhile, every other industrial sector in BC receives substantial subsidies - why make an example of art? Arts funding is not only a crucial component of a homegrown culture industry in a relatively remote region with a small population (and relatively small corporate activity). It's also a lucrative investment that has been proven to fatten, rather than impoverish, the BC tax base (see here), by bringing large returns on every dollar given. Let's not find ourselves with a BC culture consisting of nothing but American TV. Check back regularly to read news about this issue, and to keep informed about our efforts to campaign for the return of these funds, which are: a) promised BC Gaming monies, and b) regular tax base funding for the BC Arts Council. Thank you for reading. To contact us, click here.
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- Dan Mangan’s “Post-War Blues” video dir. by Kevin Eastwood – statement against government attack on arts
- BC municipal elections – who are your arts candidates?
- Some Spirit Festival” money directed to BC Arts Council, but little & late
- Federal arts cuts coming?
- Dutch political theatre around arts cuts – ad in the New York Times