DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
If what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
Sound advice which the arts community does not seem to be heeding.
Yesterday, I asked a random dozen or so people if they knew who Jane Danzo was. No one had heard of her. So much for the dramatic resignation!
Then David Diamond (Headlines Theatre) spoke, on the CBC’s Early Edition, in definitive terms. That is, he did not appeal, in polite terms, to government generosity.
Now, I fear that will be the end of it.
David also said that his colleagues in the arts community had advised him not to speak out.
What are we afraid of?
A number of years ago, I proposed the formation of a provincial union of artists and arts groups to create a powerful lobby and an articulate and passionate public voice. The response was, “Oh, that sounds too much like biting the hand that feeds us.” You can see where the.cautious and humble approach has gotten us.
What are you doing that is different?
Unless we were to have an enlightened government that would take a leadership role in the arts, we will see the continued erosion of support for the arts. And I believe it’s safe to say that private and corporation philanthropy will take its cues from government. Change can only happen when the arts become an election issue. That means taking risks. That means engaging the public—all those people who never heard of Jane Danzo, or David Diamond, for that matter.
So far, there have been mild protests, extensive letter and postcard campaigns addressed to government, and two people who have spoken out. No wonder arts advocates are looked at as a “special interest group.” We’re preaching to the converted and to the unconvertible.
What are you going to do to make a difference?