Local artists are shooting an anti-arts cuts PSA – and you can be in it

From an email sent to The Next Stage

PSA invite: please pass on to select directors, playwrights, producers, performers & Canadian celebs

Dear Artists,

Gordon Campbell said he would not cut funding to the arts and he did. Not only did he cut funding but now he is refusing to follow through with legally bound contracts. We are filming PSA’s to send him our message and how we feel about his new world without art.

We are filming PSA’s in response to Gordon Campbell, Colin Hansen and the BC Liberal Government’s new world without art.  We are needing people to speak out for these PSA’s.
We are having Canadian Playwrights write the copy for the PSA’s Or you can speak your own message.

This budget which Finance Minister Colin Hansen says is one of the ‘best budgets’ in BC history shows cuts of 50% to arts and culture investment this year when the government said that 100% of the funding was secure before the election. It gets worse. From what I have been able to gather from budget documents we learn that the government is planning on cutting 92% of arts and culture investment next year. – Spencer Herbert

If you’re out of town and can’t make the shoot but you want to film a message let us know and we can arrange something.

alberta mayne & jenn griffin

Host: Qube Film
Type: Causes – Protest

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2009
Time: Scheduling times between 11:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Qube Film
1197 Howe St.
Vancouver, BC

Phone: 604.765.4675
Email: albertamayne(at)gmail(dot)com
Facebook  link


Photo courtesy of Rebecca Coleman on Flickr

The battle of artist vs. state

The following is a guest post by Toronto Theatre Artist, Photographer and Fringe staffer Amanda Lynne Ballard, first published in the Fringe Harold newsletter.


From the Texan Bill 2649 attack on lighting designers in May to the recent UK Equity attempt to implement mandatory minimum wage payment on all working actors to Canada’s Equity contracts – the battle of artist vs. state is once again coming to the front line on an international level.  But isn’t it always? Haven’t there always been great battles between arts and government?

Toronto’s Indie Caucus started out of TAPA and is made up of 13 different artists and producers from across the city in an attempt to making art in this city more accessible to produce and create.  The ruling hand of Equity over the city’s artists is misleading and relays the message, we’d rather you get paid then create. But the artists within the community want to create a vibrant, culturally diverse artistic city – in any way they can.

The current status of the Equity agreements available to the independent theatre producers is a dizzying spell of mixed messages and irrelevant stipulations that once better represented a small producing community.

“It’s a mind field of fuckiness.” said an anonymous Caucus member. “The Equity agreement doesn’t work for the current theatre creator.”

As most of the community is creating work across disciplines and with different people, defining your work consistently under one company name is increasingly difficult. Bouncing between Fringe contracts, Indie contracts and Co-ops one can always move forward but never back.

The biggest misconception: Equity is not a Union, it is an Association.  Unions hold legal binds while associations, by definition is a group of individuals who voluntarily enter into an agreement to accomplish a purpose. Where have we been lead astray?

The Texan bill 2698, if passed, would inadvertantly put all lighting designer jobs in the hands of 1. engineers, 2. architects and/or landscape architects.  In UK the Equity attempt to legalize minimum wage payment on all artistic productions would eliminate the independent, small producing companies who are driven by their passion to create and not the fiscal outcome.

This all leaves me asking the question, why is the power to create in our world held in the hands of others and not in our own?


Images courtesy of Amanda’s Flickr page

The Alliance for Arts and Culture addresses our premier issue

An open letter to Gordon Campbell

Reprinted from The Alliance for Arts and Culture blog, May 13, 2009:

Dear Mr. Campbell,

Congratulations on your victory last night. You must be honoured to [be] among a select group of Premiers who have been elected for a third term.

As you have reminded us throughout the election, you have been a friend and ally of the cultural sector. Last year’s $150-million endowment to the BC Arts Council and the new funding for the Vancouver Arts Gallery and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre were wise and prudent investments. However, the 40-50% cut to arts and a culture laid out in your three-year service plan is a serious blow that will have a devastating effect on the creative industries. We have spent the last few months trying to gauge that effect. Here are just a few examples:

“For the Arts Club, a cut of up to 40% in our BC Arts Council grant will force our Board to consider diminishing or possibly cancelling some of our core activities. One area that could be adversely is our provincial touring program that has been successfully produced for almost 30 years. Our touring program has little financial benefit to our organization but serves every corner of our Province with the highest quality professional theatre generating to communities small and large.” – Howard Jang, Executive Director, Arts Club Theatre

“Many of our member arts councils (and other small arts organizations) depend on BC Arts Council funding, not just for projects, but for the core funding that allows them to offer the level of programming that they offer their communities. As an example, an arts council may receive 30% of its annual budget from the BC Arts Council, and offer a wide selection of programs with a part time employee. Reduced funding would impact the number of hours this employee is able to work, or in some cases, the employee may even be laid off, requiring a corresponding decrease in services provided to the community. This would reduce access to the arts, or require municipal arts and recreation programs, where they exist, to fill the gaps.” – Junko Sakamoto, Executive Director, Assembly of BC Arts Councils

“The repercussions of the cuts will be very hard on artists outside the Lower Mainland, where there isn’t a concentration of major cultural institutions like the VAG or massive spending like the Olympics. It’s also where economies have already been struggling due to the mountain pine beetle, the softwood lumber dispute, mill closures, etc.” – Bill Horne, Visual Artist, Wells, BC

“The stability of our Arts infrastructure will be threatened in communities large and small, and the province’s creative potential will not be realized.” – David Shefsiek, President of ProArt Alliance

“In the case of the Victoria Fringe, the Islands largest theatre event, we would have to shrink the Festival by two venues, having been able in the last few years to expand from 4 to 7 venues. This would impact the number of technicians and support staff hired by the festival. This would also dramatically reduce the number of artists that would be able to participate in the Fringe as well as dramatically reduce the festivals impact on the local community both economically and socially. Festival spending on outfitting and promoting would be reduced as would public participation as a result of the reduced programming.” – Ian Case, General Manager, Intrepid Theatre

Consensus seems to be that you were elected because the voters deemed you to be the best steward for our economy during this time of hardship and upheaval. Well, the arts are good for the economy. We won’t quote you the figures – the massive return on investment, the direct and indirect benefits to the economy, the community and health benefits – because you know them already. You’ve used them in speeches and printed them on your website. We only ask that you work with your Finance Minister to find a way to reverse the cuts for the good of the entire Province and the wellbeing of British Columbians everywhere.

Please let us know if there is a way we can help. On June 25th and 26th, we will be hosting a Vancouver Arts Summit in partnership with 2010 Legacies Now at the Vancouver Public Library. The theme of the summit is: “Shifting Ground: New Realities, New Ideas, New Opportunities”. The goal is to discuss the health and sustainability of our industry, and chart new paths to success. We hope will come and join in the discussion.