Our local radio station, CFAX 1070, has on online poll “Would significant funding cuts to British Columbia’s arts programs affect you personally?”
To me, the results are astonishing – over 60% of respondents indicate that they are not personally affected.
And yet, if you have ever attended a live theatre performance, walked through the art gallery, listened to a free outdoor concert, sang in a choir, been a participant at a community festival or enrolled your child in music, art or dance lessons, you will be personally affected.
In the coming months, arts organizations and ordinary citizens who value the contribution of the arts to their community will need to educate others about the magnitude of the cuts and their implications.
Admittedly, I may be more aware than most. My mother, now 80, founded the Arts Council in Ucluelet in the early 1970s. Music lessons were a fact of life. I went on to live in Europe for 6 years, surrounded by millenia of artistic expression. My family is Francophone; art and culture have ensured the survival of Francophones as distinct in our multinational country. And finally, my young adult son is an emerging performing artist.
Would I care as much if none of the above points were true? Hopefully – yes.
How do the arts contribute to your life? Do you see them as indispensable? If so, how are you willing to get involved to ensure that they remain a vibrant part of our society in BC? If government funding sources are cut, will you be willing to fund arts organizations with your donations and through increased ticket prices?
Although I worry about cuts to funding of arts organizations, above all I worry that the majority may not care about the implications to them personally.