In the Blog

Harper and the Arts

August 19th, 2008     by Nicole Cohen     Comments

There has been much outrage over the Harper government’s quiet cuts to Canadian arts funding.

In the case of the PromArt program - a grant that enables artists to travel abroad to perform, show their films, or promote their books - the cuts weren’t made so quietly. Toronto band Holy Fuck received a lot of media attention, their name evoking the reactionary nature of the government’s assessment of who has been getting (arguably a small slice of) taxpayer dollars.

But it’s not just a band with a swear in its name or lefty journalists like Avi Lewis and Gwynne Dyer who’ve received money, although, as many have suggested, artists’ politics might indeed have something to do with the Conservatives’ budget slashing. Recipients of PromArt have included ballet companies and other high-art performances, which makes the cuts even more confusing at a time when “culture” is increasingly used by governments around the world to attract investment dollars for business development.

The discussions over the arts cuts have directed some attention to the role culture plays in our lives and the often precarious careers of people who make the art and culture that are the base for campaigns like Toronto’s Live With Culture, for example.

Here’s a sample of what people have been saying about the arts cuts, including the always insightful Heather Mallick.

If funding, sustaining and promoting Canadian art and culture is important to you, then take a moment to send an email to your MP. Here’s an action alert from the Council of Canadians with background info and directions on how to send a note of protest.

On September 3, Fuse, a magazine of arts and politics, is hosting a town hall meeting to talk about the impact of cuts to arts funding. Details here.

Tags: activist report, arts

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