Friday, June 12, 2009

There's a Heart in Art

One of my best pals used to wear a button that read “Ya gotta have art” – so true.
But to have art – at least in this country – ya gotta have support for it, especially when it’s in its fledgling stages.

Where do writers and photographers and designers get much of their early exposure and on-the-job learning? Little magazines.

In an article that appeared in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, John Barton, editor of The Malahat Review was quoted:

“The small magazines are integral to Canadian arts and culture and help cultivate homegrown talent,” said Barton. Yann Martel, author of Man Booker winner Life of Pi, published his first story in The Malahat Review in 1988.

Ask Margaret Atwood where she first published her work. Waves? Branching Out? Blackfish?

Yet despite the history of our literary magazines, Steve Harper and crew have a plan that will gut them, probably shutting many down. The article (see previous link) sees John Barton reminding us “That funding has allowed the magazine to increase contributor fees, redesign the magazine and increase staff salary -- all of which produces a better product…”

And really, don’t such factors (increased contributors’ fees, staff salaries, etc.) all do their part toward sustaining a healthy economy? The contributor is now able to buy a loaf of bread – and hopefully something to have with the bread.

Those artists and authors who’ve had their work in that small magazine can, with these publishing credits, knock on doors to bigger opportunities – and, for example, have their book published or get a show in a gallery.

For a start, why not subscribe to a magazine or two.

There’s a Facebook group you might want to join, even if its name is long: Coalition to Keep Federal Support of Literary, Scholarly and Arts Magazines.

If you’re a letter writer, Heritage Minister James Moore needs to hear that this ‘adjustment’ would not be a good idea for Canadian art – and in turn, for our heritage. After all, what are cultures remembered for? Their art.


FishNetStockings said...

This is really beautiful.

Kimmy said...

great post, Heidi. as you know, my coffee table is as stacked as yours with CanLitMags. in fact, my first Bond piece will come out in Room this year! long live the Small Canadian LitMag!!!

hg said...

Ditto, grrl. Let's just hope this government is somehow forced to see the light and changes the plan re these funding cuts.