Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Faceless for the Arts in Canada

For those of you that haven't heard yet, there's a federal election coming up here in Canada on October 14. As in many European countries (and quite unlike the United States), government arts funding is an important revenue source for many arts organizations and individuals. A new Facebook group (with already close to 11,000 members) has just been created to build awareness for arts issues in the coming election by encouraging concerned citizens to leave their Facebook pictures blank. From the Faceless home page:
This is a roll call to all people who believe that Arts and Culture is a part of their lives and is important outside of the political spectrum. This is for artists, families, parents, friends, co-workers, relatives, enemies, neighbors, acquaintances, to all people who enjoy the arts and culture of this country and feel that it must be nurtured and cultivated. We need to send out a message to our politicians to let them know that there are more of us than they think and congruently that we are not going to vote for any person or party that plans to cut funding to arts and culture during this election. This is for all of us; people from all sides of the political landscape. This is not about what party you belong to, but how you feel about arts and culture in this country.
I feel very strongly about this issue, so I'll be one of those leaving their profile pictures blank until election day.

Lest you think I'm nuts, the Conference Board of Canada released a report last month stating that in 2007 cultural industries accounted for $84.6 billion of economic activity, or 7.4% of Canada's gross domestic product, as well as employing over 1.1 million people. This is a very important sector of the Canadian economy.

1 comment:

  1. From my perspective in Europe, as a Canadian citizen and artist, I see these cuts (and others) as a savvy and subtle way of reducing expression and communication in Canada, and I am very concerned about the political situation there at the moment. But the economic argument is the one can win politicians over, as the TAC successfully did at the end of the 90s...the arts are an active and successful industry.