Sunday, September 28, 2008

Arts Cuts – a niche issue?

"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people at, you know, a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough, when they know those subsidies have actually gone up – I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people." — Stephen Harper

The arts and cultural sector in Canada makes a significant contribution to the economy and it employs hundreds of thousands of workers. Employment growth in this sector has outpaced the growth of Canada’s other workforces during the last few decades. It is estimated that Canadian arts is an eighty-five billion dollar industry. This money supports not only artists, but so-called “ordinary” people whose own professions are tied to the health of this industry.

Despite Harper’s view that we artsy-types frequently attend ritzy galas, (which by the way, are privately funded and not supported by taxpayers), earnings are generally lower for cultural workers than the rest of the labour force. As Statistics Canada states, “for every successful creative and performing artist there are many with earnings below those of the average Canadian worker.” Artists have never been part of the elite rich. There are a few exceptions, those who have become moderately wealthy, but they don’t receive grants. The grants are there to keep organizations afloat and support individuals who otherwise would be unable to pursue their creative goals.

I can’t help but think that Harper wants to jeopardize an estimated six hundred thousand cultural jobs, and the billions of dollars they create, because artists don’t support him. Of course this is a generalization, but more artists than not are left of centre. Is it a coincidence that the majority of arts related jobs are in Quebec and Ontario? These two provinces, more than any others, have rejected the conservative government and now he is punishing the naughty constituents. No doubt his public spanking will backfire when he realizes that the majority of Canadians, and not just those from Quebec and Ontario, view the arts as an essential part of our heritage and our economy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Navel Gaze Tour

Ariel Gordon is touring with poet Kerry Ryan. Here is their schedule:

Wednesday October 1st/ 08 from 7-9 pm
Aqua Books, 274 Garry St, Winnipeg, MB
Phone: 204-943-7555

October 5th / 08 at 8 pm
Tonight It’s Poetry Series, Flint Bar, 259 2nd Ave S, Saskatoon, SK

October 7th/ 08 at 7 pm
Stanley A. Milne Library, 7 Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, AB

October 9th/ 08 at 7:30 pm
University of Regina, Luther College, Room 208, Regina, SK

Monday, September 22, 2008

Still-Life with Seashells

Inspired by Shawna Lemay's book cover for Calm Things, I thought I'd create my own still life using my seashell collection.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Calm Things Cover Images

Thanks to Shawna for scanning these images of her new book for me. I've had a stream of bad luck concerning all things mechanical. Along with my scanner that is no longer working, is a broken letterpress, a computer virus systematically erasing files, and a car that stalled in the Detroit tunnel. I knew it was bad when a drunken, homeless woman offered me money to get back over the tunnel. I must have looked pathetic walking around in a confused and worrisome state with my daughter's stuffed elephant tucked under my arm.

Well... at least the book looks beautiful.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Harrow Agricultural Fair

The 154th Harrow Fair took place over labour day weekend — snorting pigs, jersey cows with their long eyelashes, tart rhubarb pie, heavy tractors and fast horses — what fun!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Navel Gaze

Ariel Gordon's chapbook, The Navel Gaze, is finally ready for purchase. Ariel took some lovely photographs of the finished work.

Ariel is touring with poet Kerry Ryan. Their first stop will be Wednesday October 1st at Aqua Books from 7-9 pm (274 Garry Street, Winnipeg, MB).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Living in Gravity Book Launch

Valerie Stetson Book Launch
Thursday September 11th/ 08 from 7-8 pm
Mosaic Books, 411 Bernard Ave, Kelowna, BC
Phone: 250-763-4418