Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Rory Holland comments on the arts in BC

The Arts
Rory Holland, An Examined Life

Maybe, by mistake, Colin Hansen, the Finance Minister in BC did the Arts community a favour this week by drastically reducing their funding in this budget and his promise to pretty much cut funding in the future.

By doing so he has forced the issue for us, the citizens of this province.

Everywhere you go in British Columbia Art is all around. Artists, working for often less than minimum wage, labour on our behalf through words, pictures, music, or movement trying to decipher and communicate meaning. Art is not the message, but the messenger.

Without the voice of the messenger what happens?

The thing about Art is that it’s quiet. It just goes about its business with little fanfare. Everyday thousands of British Columbians experience some form of art public or paid for. What impact does that have on their workplaces, or their families, or their interactions at the grocery store?

We might only realize its importance in its absence.

Since the funding cuts were made public the protest has not come from us, who benefit from the art, but from the artists themselves. Who is standing with them? Are we implicitly agreeing with the government through our silence?

Colin Hansen has come out of the closet and boldly stated what has been the underlying, disappointing truth. We don’t value art.

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