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Music Schools BC

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The official blog of the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More Cuts in B.C. Arts Funding

Even minor cuts to provincial funding can be devastating to grassroots 
groups that are the lifeblood of arts in B.C.

In October 2009, Vancouver’s Helen Pitt art gallery was forced to close its doors. After losing its $32,000 gaming grant from the provincial government – nearly 40 per cent of its estimated annual revenue of $87,000 – the 35-year-old artist-run gallery had to give up its Gastown space. “We were no longer able to pay staff and no longer able to bear the cost of our lease,” says Keith Higgins, a visual artist who also serves as the organization’s administrative co-ordinator.

Closing the gallery created a domino effect: without a public exhibition space, private and self-generated revenue subsequently dropped. Higgins is now working to drum up as much private fundraising support as he can to keep the gallery afloat and attempt to rebuild, but without provincial government funding, the Helen Pitt faces an uncertain future. 

Similar stories are playing out across the province: not only are artists losing crucial financial support, but gallery workers and arts organizers are losing their jobs in the wake of provincial funding cuts that started in 2009 and continue to have an impact on arts and culture workers today.

B.C.’s arts and culture sector lost $12.1 million in gaming grants from the B.C. Ministry of Housing and Social Development in the past year as the provincial government struggled to rein in a $2.8-billion deficit (for the 2009 fiscal year ending in April). In addition, funding from B.C.’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts went down from $37.8 million in fiscal 2008 to $18.4 million in 2009 and now stands at $24.6 million for 2010. 

Arts and culture community members say the cuts have devastated the sector, resulting in a radical reconsideration of how to make a living in the arts in B.C. Some organizations have been forced to close their doors, others have left the province and still more struggle to reinvent themselves and seek alternate funding at home. The struggle is almost Darwinian: it’s survival of the fittest, the most strategic and, often, the richest.

While 2010 arts funding appears to indicate a slight increase from 2009, critics say the provincial budget isn’t as generous as it seems. According to March 2010 calculations by the Alliance for Arts and Culture, the budget includes a new $12-million item for the Royal B.C. Museum that inflates the numbers. A new legacy fund, derived from the 2010 Games and Cultural Olympiad, will contribute $10 million a year for three years to regional events, internships and growth sectors such as digital media, but critics argue the fund does not adequately address the drop in gaming grants.

Read the full article on BC Business magazine: (link below)

Art on the Edge: More Cuts in B.C. Arts Funding B.C. Arts Jackie Wong BCBusiness

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lead like the Great Conductors

An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

As we head into high school and university graduation season here is some sage advice from Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers.  Its worth 15 min of your time...

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Culture groups in the dark on provincial funding

The Tri-Cities’ arts and culture groups are wondering what will happen to their funding after the provincial government released new rules for its gaming grants program.
Last week, the province announced changes to funding guidelines, saying grants would go to programs that involve “active youth participation.” Programs where youth are only part of the audience are not eligible, according to the Ministry of Housing and Social Development.
Dan Mattinson of Coastal Sound Music Academy said the group applied for a grant but he isn’t not banking on it.
“Who knows?” he said. “We’ve got our fingers crossed like everyone else.”
Coastal Sound involves kids and youth in their leadership and mentoring programs but classes are taught by professional music teachers. “It is a bit baffling,” Mattinson said. “I have yet to hear an explanation that clears it up for me.”
Last fall, Coastal Sound learned it would not be getting the $75,000 annual gaming grant it had counted on. Mattinson said the generosity of members, the board and the artistic team saved it from financial ruin.
Programs and staff were cut and enough donations came in that Coastal Sound will end this year debt-free. Now, the group’s the administration is compiling next year’s budget — without the gaming grant.
Read more »

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Employment insurance special benefits for self -employed people

From The Cultural Human Resources Council:

NEW! Employment Insurance Special Benefits for Self-Employed People: The Impact on Artists and Cultural Workers
Full document (PDF)
Self-employed Canadians are be able to enroll in the Employment Insurance program and become eligible to receive these EI special benefits effective January 1, 2011: Maternity Benefits, Parental Benefits, Compassionate Care Benefits and Sickness Benefits. This report examines this new program to determine its relevance for the cultural community and the likelihood that freelance artists and other cultural workers will enroll.

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The effect of the Global Economic Recession on Canada's Creative Economy

 From The Cultural Human Resources Council:
The Effect of the Global Economic Recession on Canada's Creative Economy
in 2009

Full document (PDF)

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National Compesation Study update for management and admin in NPO Arts Organizations

From The Cultural Human Resources Council: 

National Compensation Study - 2009 Update for Management and Administration in Not-for-Profit Arts Organizations (2009)
The National Compensation Study for Management and Administration in Not-for-Profit Arts Organizations is an update of a similar study released in 2003. Data was gathered on base salary, employee benefits and perquisites, as well as a number of other human resources issues from over 200 organizations within the not-for-profit arts sector.
Full document (PDF)

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