CARFAC blasts provincial arts cuts

CARFAC B.C., the local branch of the Canadian Artists' Representation/le Front des artistes Canadiens, is voicing its disappointment over the provincial government's plans to cut arts funding by 40 percent in the coming fiscal year.

In a news release sent today, Julie McIntyre, president of CARFAC B.C.,  called the cuts  "a missed opportunity to stimulate the economy through one of the most efficient ways to create jobs."

Artist Bill Horne, who lives in Wells, noted in the news release that artists in smaller communities, in particular, will struggle as a result of the cutbacks.

"The repercussions of the cuts will be very hard on artists outside the Lower Mainland, where there isn't a concentration of major cultural institutions like the VAG or massive spending like the Olympics," he is quoted as saying. "It's also where economies have already been struggling due to the mountain pine beetle, the softwood lumber dispute, mill closures, etc."

The news release takes issue with the $15 million in supplemental funding for the arts this year, which has been championed by the government, noting that it is a temporary stopgap that simply delays the full impact of the cuts until the next budget.

In fact, as reported in the Straight, the $15-million one-time arts funding is not new money, but cash that was left unspent from last year's budget.