This has been an absolutely exhausting week.
It all started last Friday when most of the theatre companies in Vancouver got letters from the Provincial Government saying that thier Gaming funding was being pulled, and the three-year agreement that they had previously signed was being nullified. Many theatre companies were out $120,000.
Well, the community organized, got together, and created a stink that could be smelled in Victoria. Talk of a class-action suit was floating around. Then, yesterday, the government announced that it was reversing its decision, but only for those who had three-year agreements. Those companies who had only gotten gaming funding for this year, like one of my clients, Presentation House, are still out that grant. For Presentation House, it’s to the tune of $30,000.
Two things became really clear to me this week.
First, it is incredibly powerful when a group of people get together with a common cause and raise their voices. They become a force to be reckoned with. I’m not saying this is why the Government reversed its decision. We don’t actually know why they did. But it most certainly did not hinder the cause.
Second, I noticed how much social media was used this week to spread the word about meetings and updates on the status of the gaming grants. I only had to check in with my Twitter feed or Facebook, or check out a blog to find out what was going on. Earlier this week, someone started a Facebook group called Organizing Against Campbell’s Cuts to the Arts, and to date, it has nearly 2,000 members. Someone started the hashtag #bcartscutssuck, and it was soon everywhere. These tools are very powerful for disseminating information.
There will be a rally for the arts on Wednesday, September 9, 12 noon, at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver. People attending are requested to wear grey–the colour of our world without art. Meet at The Dance Centre at 11:30 am. The rally will then move to Robson Square, where participants will form a silent square for 30 minutes.
There will be a similar event in Victoria, at the same time. Meet in front of the office of the BC Cultural Services Branch, 800 Johnson St. (corner of Johnson and Blanchard), at 11:50 am.
Links to related stories:
The Alliance for Arts and Culture (blog)
And now, back to regular blogging.