Make Your Voice Heard ...
by Amir Ali Alibhai, Executive Director, Alliance for Arts and Culture
This is a critical time in the life of the arts and cultural sector across this province, and it is, as we should not forget, a critical time for many other sectors that comprise our civil society.
It seems that our efforts to engage the provincial government in dialogue have failed, and we continue to be met with bewildering decisions about funding and support for arts and culture.
We need to reassess our strategies and arguments as we strive to re-engage with our communities and governments and our vision for a better future. We have made some strong economic and social arguments; we have persuaded significant committees of the government to recommend restoration of cut funds, and we have begun to speak and act in a united fashion.
The recent cuts and tactics of our provincial government threaten this momentum and unity in our provincial community. There is no need for us to fall prey to this. We cannot just disappear into our organizations and not plan for the ideological battle which is brewing.
Arts Summit 2010 positions the cultural community as being at the crossroads. Your Alliance has worked very hard to create this opportunity for our members and the entire arts community. It is an opportunity to bring together our brightest and most creative minds to think and work together.
Arts Summit 2010 aims to be constructive and focused on proactive action, beginning the work of developing strong provincial cultural policy.
There are also specific options and projects “on the table”, like A Day at the Legislature and partnerships with The Coalition to Build a Better BC, and Canada Culture Days. There are important issue to discuss, such as the role of art itself in creating social change, the imminent changes to copyright law, and organizational financial literacy. There will be an opportunity to also raise your own “burning questions” and proposals at a specific workshop on the second day.
I believe that Arts Summit 2010 is an important opportunity to get out of the malaise and funk of our current situation and to think carefully about long-term strategies that engage our governments, audiences, and communities in ongoing discussion and awareness of our sector, and the vital role it plays in a healthy society and in human life.
We need to talk about values.
We cannot lose this chance to gather and work together.
If you aren’t there, the quality of our thinking and action is diminished.
I know times are tough for us all, and without the generous support of the City of Surrey and 2010 Legacies Now we would not be able to hear inspiring voices such as Arlene Goldbard's or be able to offer registration at a reasonable price. In fact the Alliance’s 3.5 staff would not have had the capacity to offer such an event. This is a worthwhile investment of time and money.
How do we deal with the challenges facing our membership and sector?
We have some ideas. Here’s your opportunity to shape them into strategies moving forward.