Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A grey day in Vancouver

People who don't live in the Lower Mainland of B.C. might laugh at that subject header and ask, "Isn't it always?"

But today was grey in ways that went well beyond the weather.

A noontime protest outside the Vancouver Art Gallery saw artists and friends of the arts gather to protest the deep cuts our government has made to this culturally important sector. As part of the action, we all tried to wear grey -- to portray the drabness of a world without art.

We stood in the misty drizzle and listened to speakers explain the depth of the cuts. They also urged us to promise solidarity as we look to convince our government to stop the cuts to arts funding.

The actions the B.C. Liberals have taken are unprecedented and not all in keeping with what other provinces are doing. The rest of the country seems to understand the importance of the arts -- not only for their cultural contributions, but for the financial returns they bring to the economy.

The trek home meant a ride on the recently opened Canada Line, a new step in the area's transit infrastructure. Because so much of the route is underground, even this leg of the trip home was the uniform grey of concrete tunnels. Oddly, even the stations where the train stops are blandly grey (though I suppose they are referred to as 'taupe'), as if we're all practising for a world that really will be the grey shades of a world without art.

More to come on this, you can be sure.

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