The arts community has been rallying together in confronting the new arts minister Kevin Krueger over recent statements and the government's plan to cut arts funding by 40 percent over the next three years. Facebook groups have been set up, along with calls to flood Krueger's inbox with mail.
Here's an example of the kind of letters the minister has been receiving, courtesy of the Vancouver International Fringe Festival:
Dear Mr. Krueger,
The Vancouver International Fringe Festival is celebrating 25 years of Theatre for Everyone. And when we say everyone, we mean everyone. We offer the opportunity to anyone to perform in the festival and select the participants at random.
I know it sounds crazy, but it’s been working now for 25 years because people are participating. We offer this diverse cross section of performing arts (over 400 performances in 11 days) to our audience (up to 30,000) for $10 for a regular ticket. This ensures that EVERYONE is able to participate as audience members.
Also our 400 volunteers who run the festival are often economically disadvantaged and gain access to this major cultural even by volunteering. We anticipate that the festival will be a recession friendly cultural experience and hope to see as strong an audience as we did last year. Last year we increased revenue returned to artists by 20% (almost $200,000).
We return 100% of the regular box office revenues to artists in the hopes that this still somewhat meager sum will encourage them to keep working as artists. As I am sure you are aware the average artist’s income is below the poverty line. And yet”¦these are the people we look to to enrich our lives.
A 40% cut for us will mean 8 fewer performing groups will have an opportunity that they would not otherwise be given. There will be 50 fewer performances and 2500-5000 fewer people will see a play. And our small staff of 2 and a half year round employees will struggle to make do rather than planning for growth and development.
We have not received an increase in our provincial grant in over a decade. Show me another industry with that amount of tenacity, resourcefulness and love for the citizens of this province. We must be doing it for love, because it’s not for the money.
Please do not continue with this regressive cut. Take us forward.
Vancouver International Fringe Festival