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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Walk-Up Registrations Accepted This Thursday & Friday

The Alliance for Arts and Culture, with the support of 2010 Legacies Now and the City of Surrey, is pleased to present Arts Summit 2010, Thursday, June 24 and Friday, June 25 at Surrey’s Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

Advance registration is now closed, but walk-up registrations, at the regular rates, will be accepted.

Arts Summit 2010 will bring together a diverse group of artists, arts organizations, presenters, facility managers, students, businesses and government representatives and create opportunities for dialogue, networking and professional development.

The 200 participants will hear keynote speaker Arlene Goldbard, author of New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development, speak on “Art and the Public Good” and take part in a variety of panel discussions and workshops.

The beautiful new Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre is 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver by Skytrain, one block south of the Gateway Skytrain station, at 13458 – 107A Avenue, corner of 107A Avenue and University Drive. (This is the correct address — google maps has wrong information lately, due to recent street name changes in Surrey)

Check-in begins at 8 a.m. both days, with the first event at 9 a.m. Thursday’s reception ends at 6:30 p.m. and Friday’s events conclude at 5 p.m.

A full program of the addresses, workshops and panels can be found at the Arts Summit Information Page.

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Guest post by Shannon Litzenberger

In April I spent a considerable amount of time researching relative provincial spending levels on arts and culture across the country. It was budget season and so I read a lot of throne speeches and analyzed a dozen budget documents, comparing figures from this year to last. For a couple of weeks, I was the goddamn Nancy Drew of 2010 public arts spending commitments.

The result was this article, which first appeared in The Dance Current print magazine’s Summer Annual 2010. Learn more >> http://www.thedancecurrent.com.

Post-Recession Budgeting and the Fate of Arts Investment

The arts community braced for impact as 2010 provincial budgets were unveiled across the country and governments articulated their public spending priorities. Federally, year two of stimulus spending is still in effect and the arts sector continues to see some benefit from these investments. Provincially, however, most governments are already scanning public spending line by line in hopes of identifying unnecessary expenditures.

Maintaining and creating jobs, while protecting essential services were the trending words in budget speeches from coast to coast. Basically every industry sector has associated jobs, so the real question is which jobs are being protected and created? Manufacturing? Trades? Health Services? Education? Environment? Energy? Arts and Culture? At a time of spending restraint, one would expect governments to seek relatively low-cost investments that produce significant returns. The arts sector makes a compelling case, with over 600,000 jobs, its considerable $46 billion GDP impact, and the multiplying effect an invested arts dollar has on the economy. Given this extraordinary potential for economic, not to mention social, returns, why haven’t more governments viewed the arts as a strategic investment in Budget 2010? Here’s what happened across the country.

After BC’s Liberal Government first proposed an eventual 92 % decrease to cultural spending in the province – a move that would have essentially decimated the BC arts scene – the arts sector poised for battle. During pre-budget consultations concerted efforts on the part of local arts advocates, assisted by sympathetic voices across the country, resulted in a unanimous recommendation from the BC Standing Committee on Finance to restore cultural investment to 2008/09 levels. However, Amir Ali Alibhai, executive director of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, confirms: “Arts funding was not restored to 2008/2009 levels… In fact what we have seen are further cuts to core funding for a total loss of 32.4 per cent from funding levels in 2008/09.” Vancouver-based Canadian Dance Assembly President Jim Smith explains that BC Gaming Commission contributions to the arts have been cut 58% and the BC Arts Council has been cut 53% from 2008/09, reducing core support for the creation of cultural experiences like those that thrilled audiences in Canada and world-wide during the 2010 Olympics. A new $10 million annual fund for arts and sport was introduced, though no further details about the fund are available. Smith reflects, “I expect, as a direct result of these cuts, in a year or two, a significant number of arts organizations will no longer be in operation.”

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You can use this form from greysquare.ca to submit a letter to Premier Campbell, Minister Rich Coleman, Minister Kevin Krueger, to your MLA, and to opposition MLAs Shane Simpson (critic for Ministry of Housing and Social Development, which includes gaming) and Spencer Herbert (critic for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts) regarding the B.C. Liberals’ mismanagement of the Gaming Direct Access program. You can either use the letter as it is written here, or edit it to your liking before submitting.

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Make Your Voice Heard …

by Amir Ali Alibhai, Executive Director,
Alliance for Arts and Culture

This is a critical time in the life of the arts and cultural sector across this province, and it is, as we should not forget, a critical time for many other sectors that comprise our civil society.

It seems that our efforts to engage the provincial government in dialogue have failed, and we continue to be met with bewildering decisions about funding and support for arts and culture.

We need to reassess our strategies and arguments as we strive to re-engage with our communities and governments and our vision for a better future. We have made some strong economic and social arguments; we have persuaded significant committees of the government to recommend restoration of cut funds, and we have begun to speak and act in a united fashion.

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This year’s Arts Summit will be held at the brand new Chuck Dailey Recreation Centre, a 5 minute walk from the Gateway Skytrain stop in North Surrey. We highly recommend “going green” for the weekend of arts discussion, workshops, panels, and receptions by taking the 25-30 minute King George Skytrain ride there. Register here.

King George Skytrain route to Gateway Station, North Surrey …

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Re: Arts Festivals Cut Off From Gambling Funds–Vancouver Sun, May 29, 2010

On Saturday, May 29, the Vancouver Sun published a comprehensive report of major, though unannounced, changes to the administration of gaming funds in British Columbia, which are administered by Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman (Arts festivals cut off from gambling funds / A7).

As a result of its own fiscal choices, the B.C. Liberal government is now forced to siphon funds from large and small social profit (non-profit) groups at the heart of British Columbia communities, large and small.

Government Policy Diverts Gaming Dollars Away from Charities

The purpose of Minister Coleman’s changes to gaming eligibility criteria is not to make any positive change. The minister knows, as we know, that only a minute fraction of applicants will meet the new, only partially disclosed, eligibility criteria. The few that do qualify will only be eligible for tiny grants.

The real outcome is the diversion of gaming revenues away from the charitable purposes they were intended to support and into unspecified non-charitable government projects.

Damaging Dominoes

The damage does not end with gaming cuts alone. When the provincial government cuts support to BC festivals, the effect spreads far beyond a single budget line. Federal programs and private foundations frequently provide funds to match provincial contributions. Corporate sponsors naturally get nervous when their projects suddenly experience financial distress, and greener pastures are easy to find.

Abrupt and unexpected changes in grant eligibility jeopardize many other critical revenue sources. A single cut can swiftly multiply losses several times over, to devastating effect.

Minister Coleman Belittles Non-Profit Sector and Volunteers

We take particular exception to Minister Coleman’s remarks demeaning the proud public service to British Columbia made by thousands of volunteers, donors, sponsors, and ordinary people who work incredibly hard in the arts sector year in and year out. Out of the spotlight and behind the scenes, an army of dedicated citizens tirelessly labours to keep the doors open on our non-profit festivals, arts companies, orchestras, galleries and museums in villages, towns, and cities across this province.

At every turn they cut costs and stretch each precious dollar to the breaking point. They do this in the most honourable tradition of public service, for the privilege of presenting the finest BC, Canadian, and international talent to all British Columbians, including our children, at an affordable price (or for free) ensuring access to all.

These unsung heroes deserve better from our government leaders than to be dismissed as incompetent failures.

3.5 Million Attend BC Arts and Culture Presentations

Arts and culture in BC are hugely popular. The arts community is honoured to serve more than 3.5 million British Columbians, including some 300,000 schoolchildren who attend non-profit performances and exhibitions annually from Atlin and Fort Nelson to Victoria and Sparwood.

When the world turned its eyes to British Columbia at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, our artists stood with our athletes to put Canada’s heart on its sleeve. The Cultural Olympiad showed all British Columbians the priceless value of investment in our own talent.

Non-Profit Sector Helps Small Business

When artists take the stage, they put British Columbians to work — be they ticket sellers, dry cleaners, caterers, printers, waiters and waitresses, lighting suppliers, ushers, stage hands, sound engineers, taxi drivers, parking attendants, delivery drivers, florists, hair dressers, or babysitters. This buzz of economic activity not only keeps British Columbians employed, it generates sufficient tax revenue to cover taxpayer investment in the arts, with more left over for schools and hospitals.

Small business is the backbone of British Columbia’s economy, and the arts sector is proud to support and partner with small businesses in communities across our province.

Public Support for Arts and Culture an Internationally Accepted Practice

It is deeply misguided to suggest that professional exhibitions and performances can be mounted on a strictly private enterprise model. If this were the case, none of the world’s greatest museums or professional companies would exist today–the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bolshoi Ballet, La Scala Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the British Museum — not one of these pillars of modern civilization could survive without considerable government investment.

Each was built from humble beginnings, generation by generation, upon the bedrock of visionary leadership who made a pact with a future they would not live to see. They understood that a nation’s greatest prize is its heart, and that belongs to all the people, not just the rich and powerful.

Government Policy Means Art is Only for the Rich

Here in BC, if Minister Coleman’s view prevails, only the wealthy in our large urban centres will see the greatest performances and exhibitions, even those of our own homegrown and world-renowned artists.

Art Serves British Columbia

The arts community is proud of its service to all British Columbians, proud of its volunteerism, its enterprise and can-do spirit, proud to enrich our culture and traditions, proud to grow British Columbia’s profile and reputation abroad, and proud to contribute to our provincial economy.

Re-Instate Gaming Grants and Consult with Charitable Arts Sector

We ask today for Minister Coleman to reinstate full access to gaming funds for arts and culture organizations throughout the province.

We renew our calls on the government to consult with our sector so that together we can build a vibrant future for British Columbia.

Sandy Garossino
Chair, Advocacy Task Force
Alliance for Arts and Culture

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Recharge, Enter The Dialogue & Share!

The Alliance for Arts and Culture, with the support of 2010 Legacies Now and the City of Surrey, is pleased to present Arts Summit 2010, Thursday, June 24 and Friday, June 25 at Surrey’s Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

This beautiful new facility is 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver by Skytrain, one block from the Gateway Skytrainstation, at 13458 – 107A Street.

Register Now!

Check-in begins at 8 a.m. both days, with the first event at 9 a.m. Thursday’s reception ends at 6:30 p.m. and Friday’s events conclude at 5 p.m.

For the full Arts Summit 2010 schedule follow this link

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