Thursday, April 21, 2011

Art Museum Directors call for National Museums Policy in Canada

Many may have already seen this, but given the policy request, I thought I would post. Last week, the Canadian Art Museum Directors' Organization (CAMDO) released a statement concerning the 2011 federal election. No parties were named (damn!) but I thought it was notable it calls for a National Museums Policy. Here's the statement:


A strong culture is fundamental to the health of every nation and its people. It is the basis of our sense of right and wrong, fairness and opportunity. Culture is founded in education and one of the most important ways people engage as citizens and participate in their communities. Canada's public galleries and art museums are stewards of Canadian culture and, through their collections, programs and exhibitions, essential to its ongoing production and evolution. We therefore call on political representatives of all parties to confirm their support for the following seven principles, which are essential to a secure and thriving cultural life.

1 Freedom of Expression – This is the foundation of all culture. Artists must be free to create and public institutions free to support and present their work without fear of favouritism, bias or prejudice.

2 Open, Transparent and Accountable Government – Our public institutions rely on government to be open about its goals and policies. Support programs for culture and the arts must be transparent so they can be properly understood and accessible. Accountability is fundamental to ensure fairness.

3 Philanthropy and Private Investment in the Arts and Cultural Industries – The independence and financial security of the arts requires diversification as well as increases to the funding base to keep pace with the remarkable growth of the cultural sector.

4 Domestic and Foreign Market Development – A successful market can only come about if artworks can be shared with Canadians from coast to coast to coast and promoted outside Canada.

5 Copyright – This essential framework must fairly balance the rights of creators with the rights of the public in order to ensure the richness of Canadian culture is available for the benefit of all.

6 The Canada Council for the Arts – Founded in 1957, the Canada Council is the figurehead and model for arts funding throughout the country. Its capacity to play this essential role is compromised if it does not have access to sufficient funding to fulfil its mandate.

7 A National Museums Policy – Leadership is needed to guide research, conservation, travelling exhibitions, public learning awareness, and promotion of our heritage, and the development of programs to secure the financial conditions of creators and the institutions that present their work, including Canada's public galleries and art museums.

It's a pretty neutral statement in my eyes, but again, interesting to see from a policy perspective.

(Image of Canada's Parliament from Defense Industry Daily)

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