Here is the full text of the public letter from the Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres:
In recent months, the B.C. Arts Council has been subjected to an unprecedented amount of political interference, something former Arts Council chair Jane Danzo called attention to in her letter of resignation, made public yesterday evening.
This political interference, taking the form of a direct assault on the arms-length nature of the council, should be of concern to all British Columbians. The B.C. government has disproportionately cut funding that used to support cultural activity and services in our communities (overall, by 50% to 70%), and now seeks to replace that money with politically-directed money from a Legacy Program. Not only will no money will be saved by this action, the democratic nature of cultural expression will be significantly impaired.
It is widely suspected in our community that this interference is an attempt by government to convert the arts and culture in B.C. into a tool to be mobilized for partisan political ends, rather than an essential outgrowth of, and benefit to, our communities. Furthermore, it is believed by some that this attempt to manage culture directly by political fiat originates in the office of the Premier.
It is incumbent upon the Premier and the government caucus to refute this theory, not by mere denial, but by demonstrating a strong commitment to arts funding at arms-length from political operatives, and by reversing the disastrous, reckless and wasteful decisions identified in Ms. Danzo's letter.
President, Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres