I’m known to be a verbose person, but the cuts to BC arts funding have left me rather speechless because I don’t know what to say to the slew of people that are going to be losing their jobs immediately or in the near future. I’ve been out of work since May and can only offer a sympathetic shoulder and advice on how to reduce spending in order to get by. I’ll stand in solidarity with my fellow artists, but the reality is that we’re also now being pitted against each other in an increasingly tight job market. Those of us working artists that used day jobs to fund our art practices are going to face serious decisions about our futures since we will no longer be able to rely on teaching, community organization and art exhibition to get by. Some of us will move on and continue, while others will have to find new fields or new places to live. But in the end it’s BC youth that will suffer the most, because they’ll face growing up in communities that are cultural wastelands because they are devoid of teachers and mentors.

I used to make my living from working in software and teaching children about historical fiction and animation. But the software job dried up in May and the animation program is being scaled back severely, even after a very successful 2008/2009 school year. So, I’ve looked for work as a graphic designer and in the arts community to little avail. For now, I’m left scrambling to minimize the amount of debt that I hope doesn’t bury me since student loans, taxes and credit cards all have interest rates that tick at a rate faster than I can calculate. I’m educated (multiple degrees), I volunteer, and participate in local events whenever possible, but I’m facing financial ruin and the latest rounds of cuts mean that there will be fewer opportunities and even more people looking for work. It also means I can’t support other artists or the facilities that make some of our work possible, which leads to further loss to our communities as the dominoes start to fall.

The thing I find most appalling is that artists actually tend to be amongst the hardest working people in our communities because most of them do their work out of passion and devotion to their crafts. The cuts are also a slap in the face to a province-wide arts community that puts up significant financial numbers:

  • For every $1 into arts a $1.36 comes back to the province
  • The arts generates 5 billion dollars for BC every year

While the cuts that the arts community is desperate to keep is only 1/20 of 1% of the provincial government’s budget.

Please get involved and find more information at these and other sources:

Join the Facebook group: Organizing against Campbell’s cuts to the arts

Gillian Burnett’s article in The Province

The Arts Alliance Blog

Ouno Design encourages you to send letters!

Visualizations of the BC budget from blprnt

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