Why Aren’t We Talking about the Arts during this Election?

Photo by Trevor Brady, The Georgia Straight A message from the Executive Director: So yet again the arts and cultural sector seem to fall off the table.  The NDP and Green platforms for BC Election 2009 addressed arts and culture and made some encouraging promises. The Liberals have, thus far, described their rather impressive track-record, without addressing the large cuts to come to the BC Arts Council in the near future, nor including the significant arts and cultural industries in their platform, except a minor mention of the Film sector. I get it. This election is clearly about the Economy; it is about Health, Education, Environment; it is about Social Services and values; it is about the next four years – our future.  It is about the sustainability of our families and communities.  It is about survival.

This letter advocating for the continued investment in arts and culture is not about a special interest group(s); it includes us all.  That is why a discussion about investment in Arts and Culture should be more prominent in this election campaign. We are missing an opportunity for important discussion and dialogue that could result in some pretty innovative and effective strategies for success in an emerging creative economy;.Everything is shifting so let’s be ready? Supporting and encouraging the Arts makes a lot of sense. It is an investment in our economy, health, education, and communities; these are all affected by the health and vitality of the arts and cultural sector.  The return on government investment in this sector is $1.36 for every dollar spent – and this does not even include the social and artistic returns and the substantial economic activity generated in communities across BC through this support. There are thousand of jobs, families, and many communities across this province that would be significantly impacted by cuts to government investment.  Eighty-one thousand jobs exist in the cultural sector in BC, which boasts the highest concentration of artists in the country yet is the second lowest provincial investor in the sector across Canada. As an estimated $5.2 – billion industry in this province – with signs of growing and playing an even more important role in our future – we have to discuss how we manage and sustain and invest in this sector.  It makes dollars and cents and it makes good common sense.  Write letters, ask questions, make this an important issue in this election and vote; it is in our collective interest.   For more information on how to be involved visit allianceforarts.com. Sincerely, Amir Ali Alibhai Executive Director

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