The 5 minute challenge….WEEK ONE!!

Do you have five minutes?

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the start of the darkest days in arts funding in British Columbia, we could all use a little good news.  Hopes were high that British Columbia’s most recent budget would provide that positivity but it did not.  BC will be spending $6.50 per person annually on the arts (the lowest in Canada) while national provincial average sits at $26. In fact, the next-to-lowest spending province, Alberta, still spends $20.91 per person on the arts, more than THREE TIMES what BC does.

Ruby Slippers Theatre has therefore decided to use this forum, its annual The Flying Monkey e-newsmagazine, to create a five-minute challenge every week for the next four weeks.  Just twenty minutes to have impact.

We started by talking to Spencer Chandra Herbert, West End MLA and Official Opposition Critic for Arts, Culture and Tourism. We asked him what he saw as successes in the arts community’s fight in response to these drastic arts cuts:

The arts in British Columbia have become front-page news.  Before this, arts issues were relegated to the back of the paper, in the entertainment section, or not featured at all.  Now, people from all sectors of the community are talking about the value of the arts  and the role they play in life in British Columbia.   For the first time in a long time, political leaders are being actively pressed on the issue of arts funding; government is being pushed to “invest in creativity.”

Thanks Spencer!  If that’s where our success lies, then we can’t quit now!  Over the next four weeks we will challenge you each week to make your opinion heard by the people in power and let them know we are not done fighting.  We will do the challenges with you (along with some friends who are helping out) and will report back as to how each activity was received.  As Spencer points out, we need to focus on priorities:

If a government representative argues “do you want us to cut health care or cut funding to the arts?” one could respond that this is a matter of priorities.  They could equally ask, “do you want to cut taxes to banks or cut funding to the arts?”

CHALLENGE WEEK ONE: Take five minutes right now to pick up the phone and call the Minister of Finance, Kevin Falcon, and thank him for a recent provincial grant you received.  It can be one you applied for personally, or one that was received for a project you worked on. Feel free to be creative in how you express your thanks: originality stands out!

You can reach the Minister at 250 387-3751 or call Inquiry BC at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to his office.

And let us know how it goes with comments here!

Now, on to action!

 

compiled by Rachel Peake


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2 Responses to “The 5 minute challenge….WEEK ONE!!”

  1. karen matthews Says:

    I want to support your effort, but have never applied for or received a grant. Got another idea?

  2. rubyslipperstheatre Says:

    Absolutely! There will be a new challenge every week!

    Alternatively, you could contact them to say thank you for providing a grant to a company for a show you SAW and enjoyed – in fact, that might have an even greater impact. The government needs to know people are appreciating the art that is created with their funding so they see the value of increasing it!

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