I went to the Art Strike this afternoon.
It was like the weather was on our side, because it was a grey and rainy day. We were instructed to wear grey–the colour of a world without art, and the weather also showed up in shades of grey.
The steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, from the top right down, through the whole courtyard, all the way out to the fountain were covered in a mass of grey people and umbrellas. These were all cultural workers, artists, and those in non-profit organizations who were affected by the recent government cuts.
Mo Dahliwal reflected on how the arts were like electricity–you don’t notice it when it’s there, but if it’s gone for some reason, you really miss it. Later, picking up on that same theme, Nadia Chaney called us, as artists, firelighters, and said “all of us are that spark. Pass it on.”
As the rally drew to a close, Nadia had us imagine a dandilion in its seed state. She released us out into the world again, each person a seed, a firelighter, to infect and inspire others.
After, over a coffee with some friends, we talked about that passion, that spark that we all posses. We know it’s powerful. After all, it moves us every day to do what we do for long hours and little pay. But in order to make our voices heard, we also need to speak the language of the lawmakers and financiers. We need to convince them that the arts are not a charity, but a business that is a good investment.
If you have not yet done, please express your concerns to your elected representatives.
- Write your MLA
- Write you City Councillors
- Write the Premier’s office –
- Write the Minister of Finance –
- Write the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts
And have a read of this article by Charles Campbell at The Tyee.
For further updates and information about what is being organized to protest these cuts, continue to check The Alliance for Arts and Culture.