La Scena Musicale

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Arts Cuts Explained in Gazette

Arthur Kaptainis, writing in today's Montreal Gazette, explains some of the impact of the Conservative government's Arts Cuts, especially championing the $4.7 million PromArt program:
I can live without the Canadian Memory Fund, and so can you. Cutting PromArt, however, is bad policy. By all means keep it in mind Tuesday

Kaptainis also takes issue with the $3.8 million for culture.ca:
Another big line item is $3.8 million for culture.ca, an online encyclopedia of Canadian culture broadly defined (wildlife photo galleries, family genealogies and homework tips, as well as arts links). Quite a nifty site, though not something I would expect to gobble so much money. Anyway, you have probably never heard of it.

We have heard of it, and three years ago, we participated in a discussion they organized for an online arts events database, which would have made it more relevant. LSM's online classical music calendar is the largest Canadian database on the arts events, and we were ready to lend our expertise. Sadly, those plans never materialized, although there was talk of a partnership with the Canada Council. Kaptainis probably has never heard of culture.ca because of poor marketing. Culture.ca was initially rolled out with billboard advertising, but there was no sustained marketing in arts publications or PR to arts writers.

Kaptainis however takes to task Margaret Atwood:
Her acceptance speech in Montreal after winning the $10,000 Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix in April 2007 was a similar fulmination against the supposedly troglodyte tendencies of the Harper government. That speech came a day or two after the same government announced a $30-million hike to the annual budget of the pre-eminent arts fund, the Canada Council. My impression then was that the great lady was not aware of the news, widely enough reported. My belief now is she does not care.

My feeling is that Atwood cared about the Canada Council, and the fact that then Heritage Minister Bev Oda did not honour the promises she made during the 2006 election campaign to honour the $300 million increase to the Canada Council budget that the Martin government had made before calling the election.

- Wah Keung Chan

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