Mike Levin who writes the UnFolding Magazine blog takes a look at the \’Arts and the Capital City\’ summary report released by the Council for the Arts in Ottawa:
The news isn’t unique: local arts institutions and festivals are barely hanging on because they don’t have political champions, like in other capital cities in the Western world, who are willing to fight for arts’ larger role in society. But there’s a fascinating backstory in the report, one that identifies specific weaknesses in the local sector, and it adds context to this tale of woe.
Of the $118.8 million doled out between 2001 and 2008 by the Canadian Arts and Heritage Sustainability Program for stabilization (to establish non-profits), capacity building (to strengthen finances) and endowment (to attract private money), local Ottawa groups got $795,115.
That’s 0.65 percent….for Canada’s fourth largest city. Winnipeg received 12 times as much. What in Heaven’s name is that about?
It’s about a lot of things, obviously, but mostly about Ottawa’s arts sector not having anyone who knows how this game is played, or perhaps not having the resources to play it. The irony is that arts people seem caught in the same Catch 22 as those in economics, education and community (to just start a very long list): things can’t be fixed without the right resources and we can’t get the resources until things are fixed.