artists and the election and the Gov. Gen’s hubby

attended a Town Hall meeting put on by the local arts community who are all in a tizzy vis-a-vis cuts to arts funding and the perception of censorship by the current federal gov’t.

the meeting was a futile effort I’m afraid as it was a case of all in attendance singing the same melody (cliche tm)… the Greens, the NDP, the Libs. all in attendance, but no Conservatives – and honestly, who could blame them… I’m sure it makes far better sense to spend a Sunday night knocking on doors and kissing babies, than coming to a theatre just to get yelled at or possibly physically attacked (this is BC after all!)

for a bunch of creative artists, the whole endeavour was stunningly lacking in creativity. a panel of candidates and a panel of artists or arts organizers, 3 minutes each and debate. over a dozen speakers, we were a bit done in by speaker #8 or #9… for some reason, the arts community tm seems to think that if they use biz-speak, e.g. $8.3 billion to the GDP blah blah blah, that they will have more credibility… and the candidates on their part, droned on about how they will do this and this and this if this and this and this happens… yeesh, to think I missed a dinner with the in-laws for that…

anyway, I looked around at all the people dressed in black on stage and in the audience and counted fewer than ten people under the age of 40 and 0 people of the non-pale complexion (and we live in a city absolutely alive with 1st nations artists)… and maybe that’s an interesting bit of info right there… the +40 gang have grown up on grants while the -40 gang have pretty much got used to not receiving grants and have gone about their art using whatever they have at hand to make a living or ? from it… witness independent music artists… they’ve been recording and distributing their art for years and years… and how many of them have ever applied for gov’t funding? and what would their chances be at successfully receiving that funding considering who serves on selection committees and who are the usual recipients (and I have observed this across the disciplines)… 

anyway, this morning in the Globe and Mail a really interesting article on Jean-Daniel Lafond, the GG’s husband. a filmmaker, playwright, critic etc., he makes the following statements and I think he’s onto something…


“[Fundamentally], it’s a problem of education… We need to sensitize people to the importance of the arts. Don’t forget, culture is oxygen. we have to protect it [and spending on it] is not a waste of money. But it’s a dead end to make a confrontation between artists and politicians. The only possible end is demagoguery… It’s very safe for a politician to destroy culture. We have to go further with education…” and so on.

of course it’s easy to make statements… but hopefully GG hubby takes the time to get out there and mentor and present and sponsor and not just yack…


those are a few thoughts


2 thoughts on “artists and the election and the Gov. Gen’s hubby

  1. thanks for posting these thoughts. good points, all. sadly, i (and many people i know, both over and under age 40) just feel so beaten down by the harpercrapmachine that it’s hard to muster any energy for these “town hall” type of protect-the-arts gatherings (one is scheduled for Ourtown very soon, sigh). i live in a city that boasts plenty of arts & cultural festivals every year … yet to hear the majority of web-posters and talk-show callers tell it, tractor-pulls and NHL hockey are all the “culture” we need. what is the answer? how do we counter that attitude?

    as disheartening as it is, a world without art — music, dance, theatre, film, visual arts, sculpture, etc. — would be even more depressing.

  2. Great post. I’ve been following the campaign with interest, but mainly through the usual media. Thanks for giving me a look at one of these town hall meetings.

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