Home » Jim Fleck: “The Ideal Enlightened Citizen” -Yo Yo Ma

Jim Fleck: “The Ideal Enlightened Citizen” -Yo Yo Ma

Before we get to our Report from New York, we should mention the gala dinner that we attended last night in celebration of one of Canada’s most notable philanthropists and cultural supporters, Mr. Jim Fleck.

Jim Fleck. Image: rotman.utoronto.ca

Cultural bigwigs from Karen Kain to (VoCA favorite) the extraordinary cabaret star Patricia O’Callaghan came out to salute Mr. Fleck and perform, with actor Albert Shultz (of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre) holding court as Master of Ceremonies.

Cabaret singer Patricia O’Callaghan. Image: banff.ca

Mr. Fleck, who is a Conservative, has supported such organizations as the Power Plant, the Banff Centre, the National Ballet of Canada, the AGO and the Toronto Music Garden to name a few. He is also a big supporter of LOFT Community Services, an organization that offers supportive housing and other services to the homeless. LOFT stands for “Leap of Faith Together”.

He is also chairman of Business for the Arts, an offshoot of which VoCA is involved with – see ArtsScene at sidebar on the right.

Mr. Fleck has taught at York University, the Harvard Business School, the Rotman School of Management and INSEAD in France, and as we saw last night, his admirers are plentiful.

On a CBC radio program this morning, Mr. Fleck said that he has no problem with cuts to the arts as long as that money was reinvested into the arts. We agree.

Included in the programme from last night was a personal note from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling Mr. Fleck “An accomplished man whose wide-ranging contributions in a variety of fields – from business, the arts and education to public service and philanthropy – have left an indelible mark on Canadian society.”

With Harper’s recent – and presumably ongoing – cuts to the arts in Canada, we need people like Jim Fleck more than ever.

And we increasingly see them stepping up. Maxine Granovsky and Ira Gluskin are committing an additional $7 million to their original gift of $3 million to the new Art Gallery of Ontario.

“By being in a position of leadership at the AGO, I have the ability and opportunity to inspire others to support the Gallery,” says Granovsky. “The new AGO will be such a beautiful and uniquely Canadian place, and Frank Gehry has designed an entry hall that will form people’s first impression of the Gallery as it hints at the amazing encounters with art waiting for them inside.”

Check out the new AGO HERE.

Learn more about Mr. Fleck on his event website HERE.

If you’re interested in joining Canada’s newest political art movement against the Harper Government, please visit the Department of Culture, right HERE.

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