Friday, March 5, 2010

What's in the new Federal Budget for the Arts?

The federal budget was the focus of Canadian news addicts yesterday. What's in it for the arts? There's a few different takes.


Visual artists are encouraged to see that the 2010 federal budget will maintain support for the Canada Council for the Arts but are concerned about cuts to the Department of Canadian Heritage. Given the ability of the cultural sector to attract talent and investment at a low cost, the cultural industries should be an important part of the federal government’s plan to foster innovation and economic growth going forward.

From the Canadian Museums Association,

The budget does not contain any significant new developments for the museum sector. The good news is there are no cuts to support programs for museums. However, we are clearly headed into an era of significant cuts in government spending. The CMA attended budget lockup and has digested the 450-page document.


"Virtually no one got what they wanted from this budget. It contains very little new spending for any sector, and is one of the leanest budgets on record," says John McAvity, executive director of the CMA. "The CMA will continue pushing for additional funding for our sector."

From the CBC,

Over the past 18 months, Heritage Minister James Moore has made a series of announcements of stable funding to the Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Arts Training, magazines and other cultural funding streams.

It also boosted spending on cultural spaces, such as museums and concert halls, to $30 million annually in 2010 and 2011.

It was "wise" to maintain funding for the Canada Council and these other funding streams, said Shannon Litzenberger, a member of the Canadian Arts Coalition.

She also welcomed $25 million committed in 2010-11 for creation of the Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity. The prize, conceived by the late David Pecaut, is a new performing arts prize designed to foster excellence.

But Litzenberger said there was nothing substantive in the budget to boost the economic activity that comes from the cultural sector

"One of the things that is really coming to the fore is that there is a growing consensus that arts investment is a very cost-effective catalyst for high economic return and so we assume the government was looking for cost-effective measures to help the economy recover," Litzenberger said.

She said the government could have helped competitiveness by creating a new fund for touring by cultural groups and activities, which would replace a fund cut in August 2008.

The government could have gone a long way toward creating new jobs if it had invested more in the film and television production sector, said Stephen Waddell, executive director of the actors' union ACTRA.

From the Globe,

Others, though pleased to see no cuts, were less charitable.

“We're of course disappointed there's nothing new. But it is very clear that we are facing an avalanche of cuts to come and nobody is going to escape it,” said John McAvity, executive director of the Canadian Museums Association.

From the Toronto Star,

There are only passing references to cultural and heritage institutions in the budget. The government announced $540 million of arts, culture and heritage funding last year, spread over two years.

I'm still trying to figure it all out myself. To my mind, it's the kind of budget designed to expressly not generate enough disgruntlement for public outcry. Still surprised to see the Canada Prizes in there, though. The money could be better spent elsewhere, like at the National Portrait Gallery.

Image from Lifehack

1 comment:

sally said...

thanks for this summary Leah! Very helpful.