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From Vancouver With Not-so-Much Love…

We were just forwarded this letter by the excellent Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia. It was sent by the gallery’s director and curator, Scott Watson. According to an article in The Tyee, there has been a decline in core funding over two years of more than 88 per cent in British Columbia, from $19.5 million down to $2.25 million.

Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia. Image: nxew.ca

The Honourable Gordon Campbell
Premier of British Columbia
9041 Station PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1
f. 250.387.0087
e. Gordon.campbell.mla@leg.bc.ca

Dear Premier Campbell,

I am writing in hopes that the recent cuts to the B.C. Arts Council and the cuts of lottery money to the arts will be reconsidered.

The arts are fundamental to civil society and one of the basic elements of a healthy economy. British Columbia is in a relatively remote part of the Western world with a small population; public support for the arts is all the more necessary. B.C. has never had a stellar reputation for arts support. We lag far behind Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. Now that reputation will be even more dubious.

It seems to me that the money being saved by arts cuts cannot possibly be commensurate with the damage being done to an already rather fragile ecosystem. I would also think that a community hosting an Olympics, for which culture is an important component, ought to be demonstrating its commitment to culture. It also amazes me that a person contemplating a fourth term as Premier would be so disregarding of his legacy, for there is no doubt that if these drastic cuts remain, this is all we will remember of Gordon Campbell.

Yours sincerely,

Scott Watson
UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery
t. 604.822.1655 / e. scott.watson@ubc.ca

cc. The Honourable Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts
The Honourable Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development

Read the full article from The Tyee, on why the B.C. government has singled out the arts for the most brutal budget cuts it has inflicted on any sector of the economy, HERE.

3 Responses to “From Vancouver With Not-so-Much Love…”

  1. Lili says:

    Scott is completely right when he says that will be the legacy of Gordon Campbell. It will be difficult to remember Campbell in the future for anything else. Hopefully there is time for a change of mind and realizing that art is not superfluous.

  2. mmm says:

    Speaking of government art funding, check out the transcript of a NEA conference call. The NEA actively encourages the arts community to focus on issues that the White House deems crucial. Check the highlighted sections:


    Art grants are poison to our community.

  3. mmm says:

    Hey! It looks like Yosi Sargent, the NEA Director of Communications who headed the call had to resign because of this! Awesome!

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