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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Despite the fact that funding was not restored to the BCAC and that further cuts have, in fact, been introduced by the provincial government, I believe that we have gained a great deal from our recent experience. We have made convincing and sound economic and social arguments for public investment in arts and culture, so that the Standing Committee on Finance made a unanimous recommendation to restore funding.

We have become a united sector and developed strong relationships with our audiences, communities,and other social service and business sectors. We have participated in a major world event that owed a lot of its success to our talented artists and arts and cultural organizations. The Arts and Culture expressed our unique identity to the world. Most importantly, we learned that British Columbians care deeply about art and culture.

Thanks for your support in our recent efforts and we invite you to continue to be engaged as we seek to raise awareness of the critical role of arts and culture in the life and future growth of this province and in our communities.

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The bad news for the creative sector in the March 2 provincial budget was followed on March 8 with an announcement of further massive funding cuts in funding to arts groups through community gaming grants.

Creativity Counts is the Alliance for Arts and Culture‘s advocacy campaign for the return of provincial arts funding to 2008 / 2009 levels and the creation of a comprehensive and sustainable arts funding policy for British Columbia.

Our goal is to provide arts organizations, individual artists, and patrons and supporters with ideas and tools to work towards these goals.

The Alliance for Arts and Culture is now in the process of recreating the Creativity Counts advocacy toolkit and will be announcing an update to this site shortly.

In the meantime, we thank everyone for their support and participation over the past few months. We look forward to working together with all of you throughout British Columbia in the weeks and months to come to continue delivering the message that Creativity Counts.

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“Arts funding was not restored to 2008/2009 levels in yesterday’s budget, despite a unanimous recommendation by the government’s Standing Committee on Finance”, according to Alliance for Arts and Culture executive director Amir Ali Alibhai.

“In fact what we have seen are further cuts to core funding” said Mr. Alibhai, “for a total loss of 32.4 per cent from funding levels in 2008/09.”

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Here are the basic facts from the March 2 budget:

FACT: The BC Arts Council has been cut 53 per cent from 2008/09.This is funding used to provide core support for the creation of cultural experiences like those that thrilled audiences here and world-wide during the 2010 Olympics.

FACT: BC Gaming Commission contributions to the arts have been cut 58 per cent from 2008/09.This is funding used to make possible community access to the arts and culture through free public festivals and events.

FACT: A $10 million annual supplementary fund has been created, but we do not know how the funds will be administered or distributed.

FACT: Interest from the $150 million BC Arts and Culture Endowment remains the same.

FACT: The new budget includes $12 million for the BC Royal Museum. This support has remained the same for several years and is essentailly a transfer to a crown corporation; this has not traditionally been counted as part of the investment made through grants to the arts and cultural sector.

FACT: Total government investment in culture, including the newly announced $10 million annual supplementary fund, has been reduced by 32.4 per cent from the 2008/09 budget.

These numbers do not include cuts from other government sources to creative sector disciplines such as publishing, Music BC and others.

These two charts demonstrate the reality. You can see that the government numbers have been inflated by the addition of the $12 million for the Royal BC Museum.

“To win its bid for the 2010 Olympics, the BC government boasted about the British Columbia’s vibrant arts and culture scene, claiming that culture was the ‘second pillar’ of the Games. “We were hoping the government would continue to consider culture an important pillar of our society,” continued Mr. Alibhai.

“We look forward to working with the government in ensuring that the $10 million annual supplementary fund they have created is used to best effect,” Mr. Alibhai concluded. “And we shall continue to press for full restoration of arts funding to the levels the Finance Committee agreed were necessary.”

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Media Contact:
Kevin Dale McKeown
Director of Communications
Alliance for Arts and Culture

o: 604.681.3535 (215)
c: 604.345.2548
e: communications@allianceforarts.com

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“Premier Ignored MLAs and His Own Finance Committee”

VICTORIA: Emerging from today’s budget lockup at the BC Legislature, Alliance for Arts and Culture executive director Amir Ali Alibhai, Victoria Symphony executive director Mitchell Krieger, and ProArt Alliance of Greater Victoria coordinator Scott Walker expressed disappointment at the budget’s half-hearted support for the arts in British Columbia.

“Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen seem to have largely disregarded the recommendations of their own Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services and continue to ignore the importance of the creative sector ” said Mr. Alibhai.

“The Cultural Olympiad was a significant achievement for Canadian artists” Mr. Krieger added. “With this budget, however, it appears that what we have recently experienced was only a moment in time, as support for the arts continues to fall to record levels.”

“Our athletes’ achievements at the Olympics – and the phenomenal success of the Cultural Olympiad – have been a brilliant demonstration of what investing in talent does – for the individuals involved and for Canadian national pride. What an incredible return on investment” said Mr. Walker.

“The stunning spectacle of people convening in the city streets night after night – it was the musicians, artists, and street performers who made that experience work” noted Mr. Alibhai. “Art was the glue that held the Olympic experience in place for locals and visitors alike. From the major stages of the theatres and stadiums to the clubs and pubs and street corners, entertainers stepped up to the plate to ensure that the athletes and their fans had the experience of a lifetime.

“We’ve shown what we can do, and it is truly disappointing that this budget demonstrates that our government does not understand this fundamental equation.”

At first glance, the 2010/11 Budget for arts and culture does appear to fully restore funding to 2008/09 levels, as recommended by the Standing Committee.

On further exploration, however, the arts community spokesmen noted that funding for the Royal BC Museum ($12.1M) is included in the figures presented this year; previously it has not been included. There is also a “mystery” $10M allocation, which is currently not fully defined nor allocated to any existing funding organization, such as the BC Arts Council.

“We would welcome the opportunity to work with the government to make the most effective use of this investment,” said Mr. Krieger.

The following table attempts to compare “apples to apples” and gives a summary of our interpretation of the 2010 Budget. Gaming funds for arts and cultural allocations as well as funding for BC Arts Council grants are significantly lower than in 2008/09.

“Why not just restore BC Arts Council to the $19M level of 2008/09” asked Mr. Alibhai. “Where has the $7M cut from Gaming funds to the Arts and Culture gone?”

To win its bid for the 2010 Olympics, the BC government boasted about the British Columbia’s vibrant arts and culture scene, claiming that culture was the “second pillar” of the Games. “We were hoping the government would continue to consider culture an important pillar of our society, ” the arts community spokespersons agreed.

“The economic, social, health and educational benefits to our communities created by investing in arts and culture, by all levels of government, are well documented” stated Mr. Walker.

“Public funding for the arts is the research and development of cultural spending”, added Mr. Alibhai, “providing the initial investment costs that allow artists and their organizations to begin their work, and then leverages additional private support which allows the work to develop. This government seems unwilling to strengthen that foundation, denying all British Columbians the well known benefits of a healthy creative sector.”

“Artists, arts organizations, community partners, corporate sponsors and our audiences throughout will respond to this budget in a forceful manner” predicted Mr. Alibhai.

“We’ve shown the world what BC artists can do,” concluded Mr. Walker. “What we were hoping for was that the government would learn from the past two weeks and continue to invest in the Arts. When all those visitors return – as the government tells us they will – what they’ll find with this budget is a lot of closed doors and cancelled arts programs.”

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