Friday, 24 May 2013

The consequences of how you define art…

Fogo Island Inn is scheduled to open soon!  An exciting example of architecture, community development and inspired patronage by the Shorefast Foundation.

During the spring in NL it is time to roll out the red carpet and give out the awards.  Tonight is the Excellence in Visual Arts Awards ceremony at The Rooms.  So get out that extra red lipstick and celebrate.  We are also still reeling from the double whammy of cuts to funding, an explosion of arts festivals and fierce competition for a relatively small audience for "cultural products".  

I can't think of a single profession where an individual works so hard for so little dollars than the professional world of visual arts, music and attendant cultural industries like independent film and dance.  In the province of NL there has never been so much to choose from when it comes time to spend that arts and entertainment dollar.  In Canada, many of us look to our sponsors - some of them government- to pick up the slack between what it costs to put on a show and what it brings in.  Profit?  What's that?  And that's how art gets to be seen as a vocation…where you are expected to take a vow of poverty in order to practice your art.

But if you regard art as self-expression that's a different story.  If it tells the story of an individual, well let the individual get a day job.  If that story reflects cultural identity well it is at least good press for regionalism, etc…government.  Now, if art is seen as an education– something that teaches us– well that almost makes it an inalienable right in Canada where we regard education highly.  What about art as community building?  There's a whole new relationship to consider.

So, if you consider art as a luxury, an indulgence, a status object, a lesson it all has an impact on whether art deserves your time and money.  Think about it.

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