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Creativity Counts

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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
Executive Director
Alliance for Arts and Culture

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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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© Wayne

Vancouver artists and arts supporters took a metaphorical Wrecking Ball to the BC government’s devastating cuts to arts funding at the Vogue Theatre the night of November 23 in an evening of satirical protest, and the Alliance for Arts and Culture took the opportunity to introduce a province-wide campaign, Creativity Counts: Restore Arts Funding Now, as its contribution to the groundswell of arts community protests against the devastating cuts in provincial arts funding this past fall.

This site is a toolkit for community and individual protest.

To begin letting Gordon Campbell and his government know that you expect arts funding to be restored immediately to 2008/2009 levels:

1) Follow the “Make Your Voice Heard” link to your right and send an email protest to the premier, finance and arts and culture ministers and your own MLA;

2) Review the four components under “The Advocacy Toolkit” and adapt them for your own personal or organization protest;

3) Volunteer to distribute “Creativity Counts: Restore Arts Funding Now” buttons, postcards and bookmarks at local arts venues and collect donations to the Alliance Advocacy Fund. Email Alliance director of communications Kevin Dale McKeown at communications@allianceforarts.com to express your interest, and he will get back to you.

4) Contact Kevin to inquire about receiving templates of those buttons, postcards and bookmarks that you can adapt for your own community use;

5) Consider featuring the Creativity Counts logo (design courtesy of our friends at Hamazki Wong Marketing Group) as a hotlink button on your own website and social media pages. Email Kevin and he will provide you with the button’s html code and some accompanying text.

6) Donate to the Alliance’s Advocacy Fund. Buttons and postcards and bookmarks all cost money. Your support will keep this campaign going. There is a PayPal account for this purpose, or you can send a cheque payable to the Alliance for Arts and Culture to 100 – 938 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1N9 (note “Advocacy” in the memo line).

What do we hope to achieve with your help?

We have only a few more weeks in which to influence discussions and decisions around the budget that will be brought down in early March. A relentless drumbeat of protest, letters, emails and community-based activism will ensure that the decision makers in Victoria hear our message loud and clear right up to the last moment.

Creativity Counts.

Restore Arts Funding Now.

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