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By Miro Cernetig, Vancouver Sun
January 29, 2010

It’s good news Bramwell Tovey will stay another five years conducting the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The maestro took over a faltering orchestra, steered it to a Grammy, a critically acclaimed tour through China and proved classical music has a place in Vancouver’s cultural life.

Similarly positive is the success of the Cultural Olympiad, the dozens of cultural events surrounding the 2010 Olympics.

Some its notable events are the upcoming Blue Dragon by Robert Lepage, the Vancouver Opera’s Canadian premier of Nixon in China and dozens of others performances making the Olympics about more than gold medals.

It’s all planting the seeds for a cultural legacy. But will it all evaporate after the Games leave town?

Possibly so.

As most people know, when the world economy hit the rocks last year, the provincial government took the scalpel to arts funding, cutting some grants by 90 per cent. The bean counters in Victoria deemed the deep cuts a fast way to lighten the deficit.

At the moment, the bureaucrats in finance seem to be continuing with that strategy. The expectation — and fear — in the B.C. arts community is the next provincial budget, due out shortly after the Olympics is over, will continue with the $19 million in cuts to arts funding, hitting the slim operating budgets of galleries, theatre groups and orchestras from Victoria to Dawson Creek, and everywhere in between. It’s a serious policy error on both political and economic grounds.

Read the entire article here.


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