Fend for yourself. If your product is any good, the market will support it.

(6-8-10) From the June 5 Victoria, BC Times Colonist:

Things just seem to get worse for arts and culture in Victoria and the rest of British Columbia.

I'm not talking about the quality of the offerings, which often reach artistic levels that delight and surprise. Rather, it's our provincial government's mulish insistence on pretending the cultural industry in B.C. no longer exists.

The Liberal government's message is: "We are no longer interested in funding the arts. Fend for yourself. If your product is any good, the market will support it." Such an attitude shows, at best, a lack of understanding—and at worst, blind ignorance. It's as if we've suddenly become a Third World country.

The latest head-scratcher is the government's declaration that arts festivals will no longer receive gambling grants. This means, for example, that the highly successful Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival is cut off. About 23,000 people attended that festival last year—a 30 per cent increase from the previous season.

Read Adrian Chamberlain Backstage's full report here. (Also recommended: the reader comments.)

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