Seeking shelter in a perfect storm

The Vancouver Sun today reported that dozens of Vancouver-area arts organizations will not be receiving promised money from the provincial government, including groups that had been guaranteed three-year funding.

It’s tantamount to a loss of $20M in funding overall.

The news came late Friday, August 28th; many of the not-for-profit arts organizations that had started their fiscal year and executed their programs with a the-show-must-go-on optimism are now facing serious deficits.

As someone who spent a few years in the NFP sector before joining MMPI, I have seen first-hand the harrowing nature of grant-writing and the weeks of sleepless nights and fingers-crossed days. It’s a dubious task to bring arts and culture to the masses, often with a no-fee ticket price for the audience.

Who will be impacted by these cuts? Children, low-income families, and schools with little access to arts and music, that’s who. In 2009, any remaining unexecuted programming will be scaled back or cut altogether. And 2010 looms ominously as a year with very little not-for-profit arts and culture programs.

This news becomes an even more bitter pill to swallow amidst front-page reports that BC offers the lowest minimum wage.

“I’ve worked with many governments over 30 years and none has treated the arts as poorly as this one.” (general manager of the Vancouver Chamber Choir Violet Goosen quoted in the Vancouver Sun’s article)

It has indeed been a hard year for the arts — not just in BC, Canada or North American, but the world over — and it’s a good time to invest in simple but tested marketing strategies. The economy of the art industry has always been a dizzying paradox, though some things are a sure bet.

That’s one of the many reasons why we’re so excited to be at the centre of international contemporary arts in Canada. There is no other Canadian show that hosts 100 international galleries, each bringing their best artists and finest works for show and sale at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

It’s an opportunity for new artists and new art forms to step into the light and leave their lasting mark on the art world!

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