Category Archives: Article
It has been a very busy year so far for our Alliance and in case you’ve missed anything, or want to know what we are up to, you may find this update useful. We have seen the appointment of a new Premier of our province, a Federal election called, and some changes and a review of gaming funds underway. We can also look forward to an HST referendum, a Municipal election and possibly a provincial election. We also have a by-election in which our Premier is running for a seat. These all present opportunities and challenges to make sure that our collective voices are heard clearly.
First of all, we were proud to be a part of the Vancouver Not Vegas coalition, whose work, led by Sandy Garossino and Lindsay Brown, resulted in an unanimous decision by Vancouver City Council to prevent the major expansion of Edgewater Casino in our downtown. This initiative and the public discussion that has begun will inform the anticipated review of public Gaming, especially the revenues that are generated and distributed to charities. While we welcome this review, the situation for the arts and cultural groups remains dire and largely neglected. Especially as multi-year agreements have come to an end, many arts organizations are finding themselves ineligible to apply under the “new eligibility criteria” introduced by Rich Coleman in 2009. We have urged our new Premier and Minister to address this issue immediately, before a lengthy review process is completed. The $15 Million that was “restored” recently has not satisfied or addressed the pressing need in the arts and culture community, including many of our members.
It is also important to use the opportunity of the May 11th by-election, in which Premier Clark is running to remind her of promises made to the arts and culture during her leadership campaign. She has made good on the $15 Million to Gaming and we expect an announcement regarding a review. Restoration of funding cuts made to the BCAC, however, were also part of her promises and we urge our members and supporters to write letters to remind her of this. We support the allocation of at least 80%of the Arts Legacy fund ($10 Million) to the BCAC, and emphasize that this decision be made as soon as possible to avoid the confusion and backtracking that the BCAC had to endure last year. We also need to address the per capita level of arts and cultural spending in this province, which is the lowest in the country. We all want healthy, flourishing, and livable communities and the arts and culture have a large role in this. We also want her to know that those of us who work in arts and culture represent families and jobs that contribute significantly to our communities and which, in turn, serve families and support jobs in other sectors. Our new premier has an opportunity to distinguish her new government from that of Gordon Campbell and has much to gain from supporting civil society, especially the arts and culture. You can send letters to Christy@ChristyClark.ca
The Federal election is days away and we have worked with the Canadian Conference for the Arts to ensure a coordinated effort through a Common Arts Election Platform. Please vote!
For a summary of responses from the federal political parties to our questions regarding Arts and Culture, please vist the CCA’s website.
Our strength as an Alliance is based on our membership and in being able to work together to achieve our collective goals. I invite you all to Arts Summit 2011, being held in partnership with SFU Woodward’s at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts on June 10 and 11th. This is a great opportunity to strengthen our networks and strategize together.
Amir Ali Alibhai
Alliance for Arts and Culture
As expected, the budget presented by the provincial government on Tuesday, held to a “stand pat” strategy.
We were disappointed to see that yet again the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance were not followed. Given the current political and economic climates, however, we have not been surprised.
A small degree of freedom and flexibility have been provided for the next Premier of British Columbia.
The budget for the arts seems to have remained about the same as last year. The BC Arts Council (BCAC) seems to have to deal with a very slight decrease in actual dollars ($18K) and the 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy fund is still intact at $20 Million.
We are grateful that these budgets have not been cut since last year, but there is still a huge lack in the BCAC’s ability to meet the needs of the sector it serves or to have a significant impact on its development, without allocating most of the 2010 Legacy Fund monies directly to the BCAC without strings.
Last year, allocation of almost $8 Million dollars from this fund came very late in the year, causing a scramble and confusion for the arts community. The ability to plan wisely through these difficult economic times is critical for the arts and cultural community as well as the BCAC. We urge the new leader of our province to allocate the bulk of the Arts Legacy fund, at least $8 Million, to the BCAC as soon as possible in the new fiscal year.
It has not been possible to verify the status of Gaming grants to the Arts and Cultural sector. If the numbers are in the Budget, we have not been able to locate them easily and are working on this. The BC Association for Charitable Gaming (BCACG), however, has announced that here too the overall picture is the same as last year.
Gaming revenues to charities and non-profits in the province remain at last year’s level, which is well below the justified need, and well below the level agreed to by the BCACG and the province in previous negotiations.
To date there has been no indication of a reversal of eligibility restrictions on arts and cultural organizations, leaving many of them ineligible for funding. The annual loss to Metro Vancouver organizations is estimated at $4 Million. This means jobs and programs.
We urge our new leader to address these issues regarding Gaming funds as a priority, to ensure that the civil society infrastructure of the province, especially the arts and cultural infrastructure, does not collapse.
Amir Ali Alibhai
Alliance for Arts and Culture
February 9, 2011 Hill Strategies: 49% increase in consumer spending on live performances between 2001 and 2008
February 9, 2011
- 3.5 times higher average spending on admission to museums and other heritage-related activities.
- Nearly three times higher average spending on art, antiques and decorative ware.
- Over 2.5 times higher average spending on books.
- Nearly 2.5 times higher average spending on movie theatre admissions.
- Over two times higher average spending on photographic goods and services.
- Over two times higher average spending on magazines and periodicals.
- Two times higher spending on newspapers.
- Customizing performing arts marketing messages for museum and art gallery visitors.
- Ensuring that performance information is available at museums, galleries, festivals, historic sites, and other cultural sites.
- Ensuring that brochures and other materials are available in libraries and at reading series.
- Presenting performances in museums, galleries or other cultural venues.
- Collaborating with other types of arts organizations, possibly through co-location, co-productions and shared creations.
- Hotels and other travel accommodations (nearly triple) and inter-city transportation (more than double).
- Financial services (over twice as much) and contributions to retirement savings and pension funds (nearly twice as much).
- Garden supplies (more than double).
- Restaurants (85% higher average spending on restaurant food and more than double the average spending on restaurant alcohol).
- Bicycles (more than double).
- Clothing (88% higher).
- Furniture (86% higher).
- Computer equipment and supplies (81% higher).
- Pet expenses (72% higher).
Speaking on behalf of its 350 members and a growing province-wide coalition of arts and community service groups, the Greater Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture is calling on the provincial government, specifically Minister Rich Coleman of Housing and Social Development, to reinstate all the gaming funds previously used to support community services provided by charities and non-profits.
In advance of Friday’s BC Association for Charitable Gaming Symposium at Richmond’s River Rock Casino, Alliance executive director Amir Ali Alibhai said, “We are taking this opportunity to urge the BC government and Minister Coleman to properly fund charities and non-profits, as was promised when Gaming was expanded throughout BC.
“While the government of BC becomes increasingly addicted to the lucrative business of gambling at the expense of vulnerable British Columbians, and continues to expand its gaming activities, it has proceeded to break a social contract made with BC’s citizens,” Mr. Alibhai continued.
“Gambling was expanded in this province with the understanding that 33 percent of its profits would go back into communities to fund key social and community services. Currently this percentage has been eroded to 10 percent and important community infrastructures in the non-profit and charity sectors are crumbling.”
Mr. Alibhai acknowledged that there seems to be no hope of stopping neither the unprecedented expansion of gambling nor the social malaise that it creates.
He notes, however, that “we are forced to accept this source of funding for our sectors. We therefore demand a fair percentage of revenues for our communities. We also seek a more transparent manner of allocation of funds than we have witnessed of late.
“The risk of political agendas and motives affecting civil society is currently great. This massive pot of Gaming funds is currently distributed entirely at the ministry’s discretion, without transparency, consultation, or any type of arm’s-length process to ensure Gaming is not a political slush fund.
“The recent priorities announced by Minister Coleman suggest a strategy of wedge politics that we find disturbing.
“The BC government has increasingly put pressure on non-profit organizations, the pillars of a civil society, to deliver the social services it has gradually off-loaded, while cutting back its own financial support of those organizations. This is largely a result of an ideological strategy to cut corporate taxes while jumping on the cash cow that Gaming represents by taxing consumers. This addiction to gambling proceeds is not healthy and does not build a bright or better future for BC.
In making this announcement Mr. Alibhai outlined three key requests, that the government:
* Restore the funding previously provided through Gaming to civil society organizations, including the arts;
* Work with the BC Association for Charitable Gaming to negotiate and formalize an agreement to allocate at least 20 percent of all Gaming revenues to the charitable and non-profit sector so that services they provide to the public are sustainable for the future.
* Consult with community organizations from all sectors on priorities and eligibility criteria and processes for allocation of funds to civil society.
“It is not just about arts and culture, this is about the general future health of our province,” concluded Mr. Alibhai.
Alliance for Arts and Culture advocacy chair Sandy Garossino will be the keynote speaker at Friday’s BC Association for Charitable Gaming Symposium 2010, being held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond. Ms. Garossino will speak on the topic of “Advocacy in a Challenging Time: We Can Work Together Toward A More Stable Future.”
A cultural economics that captures the value of the arts has to understand value in use, and that involves broader ways of understanding ourselves and our world, for instance, anthropology and environmentalism. The value in use of the arts is that they help a society make sense of itself. They generate the symbols and rituals that create a common identity—that is why art and religion are so closely linked. Like religion, the arts give access to the spiritual. Art is a link to previous generations, and anchors us to history. Culture is a social language that we would be dumb without.
Read entire article here.