5 minute challenge…WEEK FIVE

Last week’s challenge was to be creative: to send something in the mail to your MLA that symbolizes what the arts cuts feel like to you. Here are some of the projects:

Ella Simon wrote in her note (at left) the following message, and enclosed with the sliced-in-half Bard on the Beach program (at right):

I am an artist living in your riding and I am still very upset about the cuts to the arts.  As a young artist still trying to establish myself in the community, these cuts have cut my opportunities in half.  This is what cutting the arts in half looks like.

And a response! “Margaret MacDiarmid, my MLA called and thanked me for sending the letter & talked to me about the new independent review regarding grants.  She didn’t have anything really amazing to say about funding.  I did press her a bit and let her know that it was definitely an issue that I am strongly considering in the upcoming election.”

Lindsay Drummond cut the centre out of a Vancouver postcard (left) and sent it to her MLA saying:

Slashing Arts funding is like cutting the heart out of Vancouver.

From a community member directly affected by the Provincial
arts cuts.

~Lindsay Drummond, TigerMilk Collective Society

And I decided to take things to a personal level and cut in half the card my mum sent me for Valentines’ Day (at right) sending along a sticky note saying:

This is what it looks like to only have half the resources you need to make your voice heard.  Please work to restore arts funding in BC.

I didn’t get a response, but the MLA in question did find me and start following me on Twitter….

Hopefully these provide our representatives with a tangible expression of how some of us are feeling and the conditions under which we now work and create.

THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE:  Now is the time to speak your mind.  While our representatives have elections on the brain, now is the time our voice as constituents can be heard the loudest.  I spoke to Jane Heyman and her advice was simple: “the first thing that comes to mind – and something I’m actually doing – is writing to all the NDP leadership candidates to inquire about their arts policies and urge them to make Arts Policy more prominent in the party platform.”  Which is a great idea – I would recommend writing to all the parties.

An even more basic idea is this: every time you receive a politician’s phone call, see someone out campaigning, or receive an electoral email, I challenge each of you to take the time to answer the phone, stop and chat, or email back and simply ask: “what is your stand on arts funding?”

Simply by asking the question we make the issue relevant, and by making it relevant, we will eventually be heard.

Thanks for taking the time to be part of the solution.  Don’t quit now!

compiled by Rachel Peake


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