Impatiently Crunching Numbers

Many of us have read Louis Laberge-Cote’s excellent rebuttal letter regarding Margie Gillis and the grant money she receives and the value of that money in a bigger picture context, An excerpt:

In 2007, The Conference Board estimated that the economic footprint of Canadaʼs culture sector was $84.6 billion, or 7.4 per cent of Canadaʼs total real GDP, including direct, indirect, and induced contributions. Culture sector employment exceeded 1.1 million jobs in 2007. And by the way, culture sector workers (including artists) are taxpayers just like any other worker in Canada, something Miss Erickson seems to easily forget. Furthermore, according to The Conference Board, the “Arts and culture industries play a vital role in attracting people, business, and investment, and in distinguishing Canada as a dynamic and exciting place to live and work… The culture sector bridges geographical distances and creates greatly expanded social networks.” (Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canadaʼs Creative Economy. 2008.)
Each time an artist like Margie Gillis receives a grant, Canadians are hired: dancers, actors, musicians, composers, rehearsal directors, lighting/costume/set designers, photographers, administrative and marketing staff, to name a few. Rehearsal and performing space are rented. Eventually, posters, flyers, ads and programs are designed, printed and distributed. Many audience members go to a restaurant before or after the performance traveling by car, taxi, or public transportation. Previews and reviews are written in newspapers and magazines. Tourists come to a city or decide to stay longer to see a specific show or exhibition.

A friend sent me a link to an article in the Guardian entitled Counting the true cost of the arts cuts – Unions launch ‘Lost Arts’ website to record in detail everything we’re losing because of the arts cuts. The Lost Arts website, was launched on Thursday in Westminster with the aim of recording all the organisations, initiatives, projects, commissions, tours and more that will be lost due to cuts in public spending on the arts.It will also keep a running total of money lost to the arts and the money lost to the Treasury as a consequence.

And today the Globe and Mail informed us that despite many thinking the CBC is a waste of money, a cash grab, and should be privatized, that if it were, Canada would lose at least $1.3-billion in economic activity. You can read the article on the report here. It’s by Deloitte and Touche in case you wondered just who wrote this report.

So there are some more numbers. There are some MORE facts for those who cannot or will not see the value of arts and culture in our society.

I don’t really want to talk about the Cup, or Vancouver, or what happened the other night on many levels. But a dear writer friend of mine summed it up nicely in her Facebook status update, and it seems to tie my three thoughts together:

Headlines we likely will never see: soprano hits 3 sour notes, city erupts in riot; sonnet goes wonky, villagers set fire to local sonnet-making pub; woman reads book, dislikes ending, calls for mass mayhem. It’s not Vancouver that is the problem. #victimculture

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