In Edmonton, a writer’s despair over provincial arts cuts is both convincing and less so on Government arts support.
“Alberta artists have taken the latest news of a 15-per-cent cut (to the arts) in their stride”, says Marliss Weber in SEE magazine.
She continues, “Art allows us to express ourselves, which is an innate human desire. Without access to art, without the ability to write and draw and act and make music, or consume all of the above, we seriously limit the effectiveness of our communication abilities. We also limit our ability to persuade, to entertain, to connect with each other.”
Can’t argue with that. She makes some good points in her article, and yet, while cities need the arts in order to thrive, her insinuation that the arts will cease without government support is troubling.
Read the full article HERE.
There will always be art, with or without government support and there should be absolutely no doubt about that.
A painting by Toronto artist Douglas Walker. Image: tulippress.ca
It’s dangerous to equate government support with the existence of the arts. Government support is important to many arts organizations and artists to get their work made, but there seems to be an idea in Canada that the government owes support to artists.
Does that help or hinder excellence in art?
It’s true that artists benefit greatly from government support, especially as the market is so weak in this country compared to the U.S.
But take a classical pianist, who succeeds with talent, along with drive and determination. So it is with art. If you’re not talented, you’d be wise to consider whether to make a career out of art. There’s nothing wrong with being an artist with a JOB. Ernst Beyeler, the legendary Swiss art dealer, referred to himself as a ‘Sunday painter.’ I think too many artists rely on government support. It’s a very generous situation that Canadian artists have, and it’s in many ways a wonderful thing, but it breeds mediocrity and complacency among the visual arts.
How’s that for a controversial statement? It’s harsh, but I believe it’s true.
Ben Reeves, Dog Walker, 2009. Image: johnbentleymays.com
Does government support mean better art? Not necessarily.
Artists should pursue art for art, not for ego or adulation. To be creative is a wonderful, and necessary. But to be famous or successful to your peers is a different thing altogether.