Who’s more embarrassed – the host with the black eye, or his guests? BC artists and arts organizations are expected to put on a good Olympics show for the world, but doing that is tough when the BC government has just made devastating cuts to the arts and there are few resources left and little hope for the future. Arts and Culture were supposed to be the “Second Pillar of the Games” – what happened? The 92% cuts to the arts, which have already produced massive instability in BC arts, are disproportionate cuts – other sectors have received from 5-25% cuts. It does feel a bit like a slap in the face – or to extend the metaphor, this black eye makes it hard for BC arts to put its best face forward. BC’s arts funding was already by far the lowest in Canada and only consumed a tiny 0.05% of the budget, an amount negligible even in a recession. Furthermore, artists are already among the most underpaid workers in the province, yet they perform proven and important social and community services and they do it on a shoestring. The Olympics have really put BC Arts and British Columbians in a difficult and embarrassing position – we’re supposed to put on a cheerful face and not discredit the (staggeringly expensive) Olympics, yet cuts like these make putting on a happy face very, very difficult.
These photos are from a shoot for the upcoming “Black Eye Dinner Party” PSA video on this theme – watch this space and others for the video. There will be more than one such dinner party held – this one was hosted by Marcus Youssef of Vancouver’s award-winning Neworld Theatre. The organizers want to thank all the artists from many disciplines who are participating in this ongoing event. If you’re interested in participating, contact us and we’ll put you in touch with them.