Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bleak days for the arts -- and everybody else?

As more details emerge about all that was cached in last week's B.C. budget, it's apparent that there are bleak days ahead.

The arts have been cut even further than last year. Funding to environmental groups has disappeared completely. And even though the government claimed these cuts were necessary so funding to children's programs wouldn't suffer, there've also been cuts to monies for daycares and playgrounds.

Did the government think with all the warm fuzziness floating around from the Olympics that no one would notice these cuts?

It will be interesting to see just how many artists are involved in tomorrow's opening ceremonies for the Paralympics. Just as the government now seems to understand that funding athletes pays off in accomplishments, they don't seem able yet to apply that lesson to fostering the development of artists.

About the only good bit of arts news in the past 24 hours has been the announcement of finalists for the B.C. Book Prizes.

The image above is one I took on the Sunday morning I was leaving Denman Island. Despite its black-and-white appearance, it's actually a colour shot. Later that morning the fog burned off and the day blossomed into one that was lovely. Just as the arts now seem clouded into a black-and-white funk, I can only hope that enough of us will speak out and remind this government of just how important it is for them to restore funding. If we don't succeed, we might be stuck with a future that's confined to shades of grey.

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