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Author Topic: Should Capital Development for the Arts be Publically Funded?
Makwa
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Babbler # 10724

posted 19 July 2007 06:32 AM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In another thread, leftyboy assterted that "Toronto needed to buy Theatre Passe Muraille." I also note that Artscape is being funded for a 20 year rental at $1 annually on Toronto Island, which is also being funded for renovation. Artscape also has development on Whychwood Avenue in some old TTC Repair Yards, the 'Green Art Barn' and other projects include an old police station at 1313 Queen West, a warehouse at 900 Queen West and residential units in the Distillery District. Much of this funding is provincial of course, but I wonder given the housing problems many in the city face, is funding for housing or workspaces allocated specifically for art workers justifiable?
From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 19 July 2007 02:24 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, I think there's room for governments, including local ones, to expend public funds on the arts.

The ongoing housing crisis in Canada's major cities is the result of a lot more than just the shortage of funds -- there's the bureaucratic tangle that results from the involvement of three or more levels of government, and there's often a lack of political will at any level of government, to name just two of the problems.

As for government involvement in the arts, I wouldn't say the problem is with the idea as such, but more with the execution. It's one thing for the city simply to operate theatres and make a profit from it. But it's in the nature of bureaucracies to come up with grandiose "legacy" style megaprojects, trying to do too much all at once while only listening to a narrow group of people who aren't representative of either the artistic community or the community at large.

A good example is Vancouver's proposed "cultural precinct." It's a plan to concentrate a large number of Vancouver's artistic facilities in one area of downtown, in time for the 2010 Olympics. To quote myself from the thread I started about it:

quote:
What I haven't yet seen asked in any of the pieces about it, and what may make it relevant to other cities in terms of past experience and future proposals, is the question of whether a "cultural precinct" even makes sense at all -- whether it's not better, as Jane Jacobs argued in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, to have a city's cultural facilities spread out over different areas of the city. But hey, the Olympics are coming, and we want to have one Potemkin-village-like area that we can display to visitors as our cultural hub, and who gives a shit what some New Yorker-turned-Torontonian wrote 45 years ago, anyway?

It seems to me that this is just another Olympic gravy-train that does a disservice both to the performing arts in Vancouver (beware the suffocating influence of bureaucracy on art), and to the urban fabric (by concentrating one particular use in one particular area, as the city has done with the nightclubs along Granville).


[ 19 July 2007: Message edited by: obscurantist ]


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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