Home » National Post says: Cut Government Arts Funding

National Post says: Cut Government Arts Funding

Marni Soupcoff on Canada’s biggest mistake: The $7.5-billion that Canadian governments lavish on the arts every year


Image: nationalpost.com

Marni Soupcoff from the National Post thinks that the Canadian government should stop funding the arts altogether.

After all, “Let’s be honest — who makes up the majority of the audiences of symphonies, art galleries and ballets? It’s middle-class and rich people who can afford to pay for their own entertainment.”

VoCA doesn’t necessarily agree with her article, but we think she has a point.

Should the government continue funding the arts? Or not?

Read the full article HERE

70 Responses to “National Post says: Cut Government Arts Funding”

  1. I’m a bit on the fence with Soupcoff’s article as well – government funding certainly isn’t something to be taken for granted, and believing that Canadian art wouldn’t exist without it does a great disservice to the many artists who would continue to make work regardless. Where I have a huge problem with Soupcoff is in her belief that these subsidies are largely to the benefit of the well-do-do, which completely ignores the funds that go into supporting galleries’ community outreach programs, artist-run centres and travel grants and the like for artists who otherwise couldn’t afford to mount shows outside their hometowns. The impact of that funding certainly reaches farther than the comfy, cloistered lives of the middle class, and Soupcoff really needs to look at the bigger picture before dismissing the arts in their entirety as the playground of government-sponsored privilege.

  2. Soupcoff: “But let’s be honest — who makes up the majority of the audiences of symphonies, art galleries and ballets? It’s middle-class and rich people who can afford to pay for their own entertainment.”

    A ticket to the ballet costs about the same as a ticket to a hockey game. What’s the problem?

    Soupcoff: “Is the prospect of watching HBO instead of the Movie Channel, with its token bits of Canadian content, really as absolutely abominable and debate-stopping as it’s made out to be? Isn’t “watching American television and American movies” pretty much a description of the status quo, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars our governments have poured into our arts over the years? Is all that money worth it just so that we can feel better knowing there are some Canadian shows, exhibits and movies out there (even though few of us would actually sit through many of them)?”

    Speak for yourself soupy.

    It’s one thing to ask for responsibile government spending on the arts and quite another to do so with a big fat arts HATE ON.

  3. Shoot, responsibile? I canny spell.

    Man…..

    In the absence of suggestions as to how the money could better be spent – Soupcoff’s position is not one to which I would concede a point.

  4. And further (this is my last comment) the title of the article is retarded. Arts Funding – Canada’s biggest mistake? Like ever? Ha!

  5. Craig says:

    Wow. And when Marni’s article is considered in the broader context of the series of related articles in the Post, Canada’s Biggest Mistakes, the position she takes starts to make sense:

    “Don’t miss the other instalments in the Canada’s Biggest Mistake series:

    Lorne Gunter on deficit spending
    Barbara Kay on multiculturalism
    Yoni Goldstein on publicly funded university education
    Jeet Heer on the Meech Lake accord
    L. Ian MacDonald on the death of the Meech Lake accord
    Colby Cosh on Newfoundland
    Robert Fulford on anti-business cynicism
    George Jonas on separatism, anti-Americanism and fence-sitting
    John Moore on a chronic state of baleful regret
    Michael Coren on gay marriage”

    Yeah, bigot and xenophobe Barbara Kay is obliged to speak out against multiculturalism; homophobe Michael Coren must get on his soapbox about gay marriage, as usual, etc. Every one of those writers has been paired with a topic to play up their already established positions on those issues. File it under: If you say something often enough in the media, it becomes true. What baloney. And BTW, we should all be very concerned when somebody in a national newspaper (Barbara Kay) positions intellectualism as something to be suspicious of.

    Anyway, I give Marni credit for talking about the broken arts funding model in Canada. Totally abolishing this funding is a bad idea. Perhaps the government’s focus should be directed more toward individuals than on institutions, where so much waste happens. Of course, the reason why Marni may not bring that idea up could have something to do with her editor’s mandate.

    And don’t even bother reading the comments that follow Marni’s article unless you enjoy the feeling of bile rising in your throat… The Post is such a frustrating tabloid. Argh.

    As usual, thanks to VoCA for creating this space to discuss these issues.

  6. LZG says:

    Best to spend on what elevates. However, to be on the safe side, because it’s unsure how taxes really are spent, (I mean what do people really get for their hard earned dollars from the government in terms of services these days?)… it would be good to make room for arts and culture that isn’t state sponsored. It ultimately makes for art that is self-censored, careful and tepid anyway.

  7. “It ultimately makes for art that is self-censored, careful and tepid anyway.”

    Let’s have some examples LZG. You’re doing no better at coughing than than soupy.

  8. jb says:

    Gov’t sponsors business in every sector. R&D $ for oil companies, exploration $ for mining companies, export $ for manufacturers, etc. Why is that support a mistake in the arts sector and not other sectors? Because it is a common argument that will seem familiar, easy to digest and agreeable to a National Post readership, of course.

  9. Johan Lundh says:

    It appears like the general public in Canada doesn’t realize what a great thing public funding is. It’s a fact that a lot of the most celebrated Canadian artists like Jeff Wall and Michael Snow would not have been able to develop their practices without public funding. Canada is becoming more and more like the US every year, and no one seems to be bothered.

  10. Andrea says:

    I agree that the piece should have been about comparing the arts funding models in other countries…that would have perhaps been more helpful. Is it better to rely more on corporate and philanthropic dollars like they do in the US? And if so, don’t changes have to be made to give these people major tax incentives? I think government funding is certainly a good thing, but as with anything, it can get abused and this doesn’t do our cultural scene any favours. Maybe it just needs to be rethought…

  11. Yeah, actually, the Canada Council for the Arts and the American National Endowment for the Arts have pretty similar operating Budgets. Last year, the CC ran on about 180 million and the NEA budget (if my sources are right) was around 140 million. The 7.5 billion figure that Soupcoff trots out as lavish spending from all levels of guv needs explicating.

  12. The CC website does explicate :

    “…Governments … know… their $7.7 billion investment in culture helps generate $40 billion in economic activity and creates 600,000 jobs.” (followed by a statscan link http://www.statcan.ca/english/IPS/Data/87C0033.htm)

  13. paul says:

    Today Post writer Robert Cushman disagreed with Soupkoff, he supports more government funding for the arts http://www.nationalpost.com/arts/story.html?id=450402
    Certainly the bigger the cultural scene in Canada the better, no matter how the dollars get there. People who can work in the arts and eventually find their path to make a living, in part due to government money to help launch or maintain that career at some point, is a healthy contribution to society and the ecomomy.
    Richard Florida’s http://creativeclass.com/ views on the creative class, a group of people that he believes are a key driving force for economic development of post-industrial cities in the USA, is a more researched look at the impact on the arts than Soupcoff’s useless attack on Canadian artists and Government lavishing money on the arts. When is government spending justifiable? How about today, Ottawa lavishes money on dead pigs..a $50 million dollar Government grant to help cull pigs, http://www.thestar.com/article/414500

  14. JW says:

    Let’s see what influential art critic David Hickey has to say about this:

    The art world tends to be driven by its market, and throughout the ’50s and the ’60s it was a relatively small art world with dealers and collectors and one or two small museums. It was during that period that the most powerful and permanent American art in this century was made (…) And then in the late ’60s we had a little reformation privileging museums over dealers and universities over apprenticeship, a vast shift in the structure of cultural authority.
    All of a sudden rather than an art world made up of critics and dealers, collectors and artists, you have curators, you have tenured theory professors, a public funding bureaucracy—you have all of these hierarchical authority figures selling a non-hierarchical ideology in a very hierarchical way. This really destroyed the dynamic of the art world in my view, simply because like most conservative reactions to the ’60s it was aimed specifically at the destruction of sibling society—the society of contemporaries.
    Full article: http://www.laalamedapress.com/davehickey.html

    @Johan Lundh: Snow’s first exhibition was in 1957. The CCA was created in 1957. I would say that they had zero influence on Snow’s success. If you have any quote’s of Snow’s saying otherwise I ‘d love to see them so that I can adjust my view of his work accordingly.

    All of the artists reading this blog, raise your hands. Would you keep making art even if you couldn’t get a grant? If the answer is “no” then you should put your fucking hand down.

  15. Dave Hickey has lots of interesting critical things to say about government arts funding – He speaks from the informed position of having sat as a full participant on more than a few NEA juries in his time….I don’t see that kind of experience on Marni Soupcoff’s platter of activities. He is also American, and can make detrimental remarks about guv arts funding, safe in the knowledge the Frick and the Gugg will stay standing, that there is a market and a long history of corporate and private philanthropy to go along with that. Marni Soupcoff can’t do that. Canada is not America, much as she might wish it to be so. As Cushman points out in his article, she’s also more than a little historically unclear about art patronage of the olden times, ie. never heard of Torquemada? He was head of quite a government and he was a great commissioner of art.

    Re:

    “All of the artists reading this blog, raise your hands. Would you keep making art even if you couldn’t get a grant? If the answer is “no” then you should put your fucking hand down.”

    At the least, your remark is a little impolite. And a little stupid. Do you think individual artists are getting the greater part of the infamous 7.7 billion lavishness that Soupcoff finds so disparaging? Guess again. You need to do a little more homework – perhaps identify yourself and your interest in the topic before you walk around telling people where to put their hands.

  16. Andrea says:

    Sure, JW’s remark is impolite, but I would hope that those who call themselves artists would still find a way to make art even if they couldn’t get a grant…

  17. Are you suggesting that’s not the case?

  18. Applications are made with confirmed exhibitions in place. So basically, artists go ahead with their programs of work come hell or high water.What is the ratio of grant applications to those granted?

  19. Andrea says:

    No, no I’m not suggesting it’s not the case. I am all for government support of the arts…

  20. “Snow’s first exhibition was in 1957. The CCA was created in 1957. I would say that they had zero influence on Snow’s success. If you have any quote’s of Snow’s saying otherwise I ‘d love to see them so that I can adjust my view of his work accordingly.”

    Well Snow was still getting CC grants in 1996 – maybe it didn’t have anything to do with his success, hardly anything…

  21. L.M. says:

    Allow me to raise my hand here as an artist and second j@simpleposie’s position. Too much of this argument barely masks a contempt for artists, while pure mathematicians and neutrino scientists, to cite two examples of heavily funded professions, get a free ride away from demands to justify their very existence. (they’ll still scribble calculations on blackboards that only a handful of people in this country will understand, and don’t confuse pure research science with applied science or technology)

    Olympics anyone? Because that’s another brilliant example of how those humungous bags of money just stop short of actual athletes, who the Post will whine about not “making us proud” come game time.

    ‘don’t you fret, they’ll do it anyway’ applies to too many areas of human endeavour to even be considered as a viable argument.

    This doesn’t mean that I think there should never be discussion around the current funding systems, but I find the Post’s disingenuous, if not down right fraudulent, attempt at working class populism to be beyond obnoxious.

  22. JW says:

    Sorry for being impolite. I thought this was a site for artists. I didn’t realize I had stumbled on the Thomas Kinkade Fan Page Of Hushed And Gentle Consensus. I’ll be sure to type more softly from now on.

    J@simpleposie, I agree that the individual artists are not getting the majority of the 7.7 billion. The bureaucrats, construction companies, marketing firms etc., work hard to slurp up their share. So what? It’s still a subsidy, and a subsidy is another word for wealth redistribution. It shouldn’t be going to artists, or neutrino scientists, or to mining companies. It should be rejected outright on moral grounds.

    Artists have second reason to reject these grants. Art is about desire, anxiety and risk. A government-funded institution is mainly immune to these risks, and can support both good art and bad art with little consequence. It’s dead on arrival. Timid or weak artists will produce art that they think will get funded and flatter the juries. The government will give awards to successful artists in order to help legitimize the state and to share in the artist’s accomplishments.

    I was sorry to see that Snow accepted a grant in 1996. Too bad. He also accepted the Governor General’s Award in 2000. Ouch. Are you happy that “The Right and Honourable” Adrienne Clarkson patted you on the head Mike?

    No, I don’t love the National Post or Soupcoff. I love art. I love art so much that I want to see it get better and stronger every year. Unfortunately, government support weakens and dilutes the arts. It shelters bad art and can drown out politically unacceptable art. Let’s stop going along with the GG awards (are we monarchists?), let’s stop taking money from the CCA and the OAC, let’s take risks, shake off the gentle embrace of the taxman, and let our art flourish.

  23. There is at least one commenter here who does love Thomas Kinkade. So what?

  24. JW, I’m glad you love art. Good for you.

  25. What government weakened the art of the Rennaisance?

  26. Aren’t we the government?

  27. L.M. says:

    My boy Thomas Kinkade don’t need no damn art subsidy.

    OK that changes my argument, sorry J, I’m switching sides, I’ve seen the light. In fact I’ve seen the light of a million hearths blazing in a thousand cottages where nobody’s home. And I’ve seen the light from the fires of a thousand suns beating down upon a million gardens full of deep blue delphiniums, gazebos and gentle brooks. No more timidity or weakness for me, I shall burst forth with the full creative power generated by picturesque rustic water wheels.

    I pity you Michael Snow and your sad weakened diluted work.

  28. L.M. says:

    Notice that math problem with the million hearths blazing in only a thousand homes. No of course you didn’t. We stopped paying all the mathematicians yesterday, and now no one is checking my calculations.

  29. I just thought they were monster homes.

  30. Bill says:

    I feel that open attacks on the arts are really veiled attacks on ideas and freedom of expression. There are plenty of studies, readily available through a Google search, that indicate that more money is spent in Canada on cultural events/institutions over the course of a year than sporting events, so I think that such studies challenge the argument that arts and culture are being propped up for the benefit of a small group of moneyed muckity-mucks. (I mean, did you see the insane line-ups at the ROM during March break?!) Though I guess I’m more shocked/dismayed…or maybe not really…that Michael Coren has been given the go-ahead by a national paper in a democratic country to start spouting off again about gay marriage. It’s over, Coren! Western civilization didn’t collapse when gays and lesbians got the right to marry; only the most petty and closed-minded care anymore! (Sorry for that tangent.)

  31. Moira Clark says:

    How incredibly sad that a culture would be so antagonistic towards its artists and not want to help them flourish. Everyone knows that artists don’t live high off the hog on arts funding, they use it to make their work. That work provides colour and controversy and spreads ideas. Artists enliven cities and change neighbourhoods. School programs take children to see the opera, ballet, theatre and art galleries. Artists speak to eachother internationally. Certainly not all artists profit directly from government funding but that funding creates a base for artists to operate. Patronage has always been crucial to what artists do since ancient Egypt and probably before. Why must some people persist in thinking that art making is some sort of conspiracy to rob citizens of their hard earned cash? I live in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, an area that was derelict ten years ago until artists started up art galleries here. This was followed by other business-minded opportunists who created bars and restaurants and now the street is flooded by people who want to hang out and be “cool”. If people want to be artsy by associating themselves with something artists have created, why do they despise artists? I’ll bet that silly Marni Soupcoff spends her weekends hanging out at the Drake!

  32. Andrea says:

    “Why must some people persist in thinking that art making is some sort of conspiracy to rob citizens of their hard earned cash?”

    …Very well said, Moira. I think the mainstream media in Canada continues to perpetuate this idea, unfortunately. More on that in a future VoCA post. Stay tuned…

  33. max says:

    Yeah yeah yeah. JW: you have a new friend!

  34. ajk says:

    Arts funding (and funding for sports for that matter, Bill) is not just about funding events. A carded (i.e. qualifying) Olympic athlete receives over $1000 a month subsidy for training. One needs only to multiply this by the number of athletes (in all sports, olympic & paralympic) to understand how much is being spent on athletes.

    I am not making a point to judge this subsidy, my point is that articles about whether or not the government should subsidize sport are very few and far between. I don’t think many Canadians have any idea the extent to which sport is subsidized. Is it a coincidence that funding cuts to the arts is being considered around the same as Canada gears up for the Olympic games in Vancouver. The UK has already massively cut its funding to the arts and many arts organizations there link this to the Olympic games to be held in London.

    Marnie’s article is right-wing bile intended to sell papers to the majority of Canada’s readership. (If the NP wanted to be controversial, they would write ask Marnie to write an article about why funding is important)… but the NP doesn’t ask its readers to consider ideas that they don’t already hold. As a supporter of art, she should realize the ramifications of what she writes (eg. some people will believe it to be true).

  35. Timothy says:

    BTW: JW’s ‘Sorry for being impolite. I thought this was a site for artists. I didn’t realize I had stumbled on the Thomas Kinkade Fan Page Of Hushed And Gentle Consensus. I’ll be sure to type more softly from now on.’ =FTW

  36. Bill says:

    I completely agree with you, ajk, and I like the point you are making. I just wanted to make the point that studies seem to indicate that, in Canada, more consumer dollars are spent per year to attend cultural events than sporting events, which, in turn, infers that more Canadians may access the arts than Soupcoff’s article would have readers believe.

  37. JW says:

    “JW, I’m glad you love art. Good for you.”
    -J@simpleposie

    This was said as a response to L.M’s comment that a call for artists to reject government funding “masks contempt for artists”. The point is that there are some people who love art and make art, but do not believe that grants from the government are beneficial to the arts.

  38. JW says:

    “Aren’t we the government?”
    -J@simpleposie

    This isn’t really the place to debate the role of government in general, but this statement (assuming that you’re not joking) needs to be responded to.

    If “we are the government,” then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also “voluntary” on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that “we owe it to ourselves”; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is “doing it to himself” and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred.”

    Murray N. Rothbard “Anatomy of the State”

    The complete essay is here:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard62.html

  39. JW says:

    “And your name is?”
    -J@simpleposie

    Hmm. That is the second time you’ve asked. Some people, when faced with ideas that they strongly disagree with, prefer to attack the person who put forth the ideas rather than the ideas themselves. They will latch onto something that they consider negative about the person and then declare that any idea being advanced couldn’t possibly just be just or moral because the person advocating them is a “bad person” and therefore can safely be ignored.

  40. JW says:

    “Applications are made with confirmed exhibitions in place. So basically, artists go ahead with their programs of work come hell or high water.”
    -J@simpleposie

    If we are going ahead come hell or high water, then why take the grant? Because we want the money. The money once belonged to some pipe-fitter in Regina, but he was going to use it on snow tires or a gift for his wife or some other useless thing, and we (because we are artists) deserve it more. We are more important than him. After we take his money for something we were going to do anyway (come hell or high water!) we will act baffled that he would actually demand that we stop taking his money.

  41. JW says:

    “I feel that open attacks on the arts are really veiled attacks on ideas and freedom of expression.”
    -Bill

    If you are referring to the NP article, I think you would be better suited to say “open attacks on art FUNDING”. However, I didn’t see anything in the NP article or the comments section that called for censorship of the arts.

    Just to follow your tangent for a moment, Michael Coren needs to retire. Unfortunately, there are enough people around who respect his views to keep him in columns for another few years.

  42. JW says:

    “Why must some people persist in thinking that art making is some sort of conspiracy to rob citizens of their hard earned cash?”
    -Moira Clark

    Art making does not require a grant. Writing a book does not require a grant. If an artist needs money to produce their work, they can seek VOLUNTARY patronage, or they can work and save their money. Otherwise, by taking a grant, they ARE taking money from non-artist citizens.

  43. JW says:

    “Patronage has always been crucial to what artists do since ancient Egypt and probably before.”
    -Moira Clark

    Ancient Egypt was a totalitarian state. Its art was created to deify the ruling class. The resources used in the creation of these works were extracted by slaves living under the threat of death. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for state patronage. Voluntary patronage is a different story.

  44. JW says:

    “What government weakened the art of the Rennaisance?”
    -J@simpleposie

    “Mostly created by the Roman Catholic church, does Renaissance art, as it was manifested itself over 400 years, does it represent the church? It does not represent the church. The kind of art we like today (from the Renaissance) became the art that we like today, because people took that art and used it for their personal ends. They disregarded its ideological content and took it to mean something that they value.”
    -Dave Hickey

    You and I enjoy Renaissance art because we remove it from the original context of propaganda and enjoy it on the level with which we wish to see it. The fact remains that the majority of it was funded by the state and the church in order to proselytize a certain type of Christianity or to glorify a nobleman or a pope. Unless you are suggesting that the Prime Minister should order David Altmejd to spend four years painting the ceiling of Parliament I don’t really see the comparison.

  45. L.M. says:

    I’m from Saskatchewan, so can we say that our pipefitter is from Alberta or Manitoba? Then the next time the board of Directors from the Post are having dinner with him and the ‘missus, will they be able to tell them that they received NO tax benefits whatsoever from their sponsorship of exhibitions such as this one:
    http://tmccelive.ecentricarts.com/index.cfm?page=exhibition.detail&exhId=271

  46. Gabby says:

    This point was already made way back at the top by Stephanie, but I think one of the problems with the NP’s criticism of arts funding (and this subsequent debate) is that it ignores the fact that public support/funding is not limited to grants for artists and exhibitions, but extends to operating grants for galleries and artist-run centres and funding for public programming and outreach work; activities that most private sponsors find “unsexy” (no one wants sponsorship credit for paying the hydro bill). These activities and programs are fundamental in bringing art to the public in an (ideally) engaging and accessible way. Even if “real artists” are going to make work with or without a grant, I think you might have trouble finding an educator that can create public programs out of thin air, or an artist-run centre that can mount exhibitions without a building.

  47. Andrea (sorry for posting twice) would you mid terribly deleting the previous one – I wasn’t quite finished before I hit submit

    JW,

    Re:

    “JW, I’m glad you love art. Good for you.”
    -J@simpleposie
    “This was said as a response to L.M’s comment that a call for artists to reject government funding “masks contempt for artists”. The point is that there are some people who love art and make art, but do not believe that grants from the government are beneficial to the arts.”

    Your own entrance to this thread was rather contemptuous, if I recall correctly (it was so long ago now) . Point taken. Good for you. I’m glad you love art. I understand you don’t see the benefit of government money to the arts. This is a point you haven’t really illustrated in any detail – ie all the lousy art and music and dance Canadians make…..all their crappy literature and movies etcetera. Nor have you suggested alternatives to the current system besides to say artists should break free of the taxman and let the arts flourish and later that they should seek “voluntary patronage”. All this anonymously. I’ll say it again. Good for you. I’m glad you love art. What is your investment in it?

    Re: “Aren’t we the government?”
    -J@simpleposie

    “This isn’t really the place to debate the role of government in general, but this statement (assuming that you’re not joking) needs to be responded to.

    I didn’t make a statement. I didn’t ask for a debate on the role of anything. When we cast our votes as artists and people such as yourself who (supposedly) make art and love art – are we not responsible for the government we elect and for holding that government responsible to us? Please spare us the Libertarian quotes.

    Re:

    “Applications are made with confirmed exhibitions in place. So basically, artists go ahead with their programs of work come hell or high water.”
    -J@simpleposie

    ” If we are going ahead come hell or high water, then why take the grant? Because we want the money. The money once belonged to some pipe-fitter in Regina, but he was going to use it on snow tires or a gift for his wife or some other useless thing, and we (because we are artists) deserve it more. We are more important than him. After we take his money for something we were going to do anyway (come hell or high water!) we will act baffled that he would actually demand that we stop taking his money.”

    I suppose you don’t think artists pay taxes or that the pipefitter (BTW I happen to come from a long line of pipefitters – Toronto pipefitters) had thought to take his wife to the ballet. In the 2002, the money all levels of Canadian government siphoned per capita from the pockets of doctors, forest fighters and pipefitters alike amounted to eighteen dollars.

    eighteen dollars. twenty cents a day

  48. In the year 2002 – that was when the government only LAVISHED 7.4 billion on the arts.

  49. JW says:

    “What is your investment in it?”
    -J@simpleposie

    I love it. We care for the things we love and want what’s best for them.

  50. JW says:

    “Please spare us the Libertarian quotes.”
    -J@simpleposie

    No. “The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule.” -Mises

  51. JW says:

    “I suppose you don’t think artists pay taxes or that the pipefitter (BTW I happen to come from a long line of pipefitters – Toronto pipefitters) had thought to take his wife to the ballet.”
    -J@simpleposie

    You have side-stepped the question. If you are going to make art come hell or high water, whether or not you get a grant, why are you taking the money?

  52. JW says:

    “Even if “real artists” are going to make work with or without a grant, I think you might have trouble finding an educator that can create public programs out of thin air, or an artist-run centre that can mount exhibitions without a building.”
    -Gabby

    They might have trouble finding a building if they are lazy.

  53. JW says:

    “I understand you don’t see the benefit of government money to the arts. This is a point you haven’t really illustrated in any detail.”
    -J@simpleposie

    I illustrated the point with Hickey’s view which was quoted in post #15. You glossed over his comment by saying that since he is “also American” his point did not apply to Canada. I disagree. The dynamics at play in the US and Canada are almost identical. You did not respond to the charge that the change Hickey describes “really destroyed the dynamic of the art world.”

  54. JW says:

    “Nor have you suggested alternatives to the current system besides to say artists should break free of the taxman.”
    -J@simpleposie

    There is no alternative besides breaking free of the taxman.

  55. sally says:

    I agree with L.M. (post #22) that when other industries receive government funding, it is not seen as a hand-out, but an R&D investment. If culture is as important as science and technology (and I believe it is), then it should also be supported by society. I suspect that vehement opposition to arts funding comes not so much from a dislike of art, as from an investment in the idea of art as somehow above, or a least separate from, the rest of society. As if the magic of art will be destroyed when we acknowledge that artistic production requires mundane resources. Yes, some artists will keep making art with or without art-specific financial support, but the idea that such people are the only true artists is connected to an old fashioned myth of the genius, the starving artist in the garret syndrome, and is based on a concept of art as a highly private, individual practice, as if the artist is a wraith, disconnected from the real world.

  56. sally says:

    “why are you taking the money?”

    food and shelter. If you prick me, do I not bleed?

  57. L.M. says:

    “why are you taking the money?”

    My credit cards are maxed out from previous exhibitions in public venues, viewed by even people who love art and know what’s best for me. But since Amex, Mastercard & Visa funnel back a minscule amount of taxable profits to support cultural events (brokered by various ad agencies) in exchange for tax breaks, oops, I mean because they looooooooooooooove art, I suppose that, by some art-lovin’ money-manager metrics, the market has spoken.

    JW, you haven’t the foggiest idea of what it takes to make the art you love, how arts funding works, or anything about arms length peer-review and you obviously don’t care, this is just an ideological exercise for you.

  58. Re:

    “I understand you don’t see the benefit of government money to the arts. This is a point you haven’t really illustrated in any detail.”
    -J@simpleposie

    I illustrated the point with Hickey’s view which was quoted in post #15. You glossed over his comment by saying that since he is “also American” his point did not apply to Canada. I disagree. The dynamics at play in the US and Canada are almost identical. You did not respond to the charge that the change Hickey describes “really destroyed the dynamic of the art world.”

    My but you are selective in the way you read things. I said, “Dave Hickey has lots of interesting critical things to say about government arts funding – He speaks from the informed position of having sat as a full participant on more than a few NEA juries in his time….I don’t see that kind of experience on Marni Soupcoff’s platter of activities.”

    As yet, I don’t see that kind of experience on your platter either. You can love art till the cows come home. I asked you what is your investment in it?

    Re: “Nor have you suggested alternatives to the current system besides to say artists should break free of the taxman.”
    -J@simpleposie

    “There is no alternative besides breaking free of the taxman.”

    Break free of twenty damn cents a day? Will all food taste like ice cream then? Will we live forever after that?

  59. Re:

    “The dynamics at play in the US and Canada are almost identical.”

    NOT.

  60. Andrea,

    Somewhere in this thread you mention you don’t necessarily agree but that you think Marni Soupcoff has a point. At another juncture you say you’re all for government funding. I was wondering if you could talk a little more about what validity you may see in Soupcoff’s world without funding and how your own artworld would change if that world were a reality.

  61. Martin says:

    Oh, and does she think Harry Potter books, Nine Inch Nail CDs, and American Idol episodes fall from the sky? Fudge no! They also require some sort of payment/purchase to be enjoyed. But you don’t see her complaining about that. Let’s compare:

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: $29.70 at Chapters

    Opera for a New Age tickets at the Four Seasons: Just $20.

    Of course, if you’re really desperate for low-cost book-reading, one can always borrow a book for free from the library. That is not yet an option for opera productions and I don’t think it will ever be, since such a thing would have already been in place by now.

    But let’s not forget that AMC theatres DO screen filmed productions of Opera performances from time to time (much like the WWE tournaments). That’ll cost you about 13 bucks, and makes it a far more accessible – and familiar – option for those who are interested. So let’s no assume opera companies aren’t trying…

    Besides, Nine Inch Nails, American Idol, and Harry Potter are all either British or American products. The Canada Council for the Arts supports, well, exclusively Canadian content. A fair comparison? I think not!

  62. Andrea says:

    I agree that Marni Soupkoff’s article is uninformed – I concede her point only in that I think that government funding can be a double edged sword. I think it’s interesting to think about where the visual arts would be without govt funding.

    It’s a model that we need, and appreciate now that we have it, of course, but it does allow the govt to involve itself in non-beneficial ways (through censorship for example)…I wonder if there wouldn’t be more public awareness of the arts, too if we had a different model…

    Those are a few of my thoughts. I guess I felt that her article would be a good catalyst for discussion and it seems it was.

    Btw, I asked Marni Soupkoff to respond to the comments, but she declined.

  63. L. Leon says:

    Marni Soupcoff is Ezra Levant’s twin sister. The best thing you can do for her self esteem is to throw a rock through her window. My advice; such simplistic and deliberately provocative comments should be ignored.

  64. cee says:

    The leeches that live off gov’t funding of the arts need to get a real job.That means most of the bozo’s who think funding should continue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>