I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see … a bunch of people … at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren’t high enough when they know those subsidies have actually gone up, I’m not sure that’s something that resonates with ordinary people.
(Prime Minister Stephen Harper, September 23rd)
I think Prime Minister Harper's statement shows a limited understanding of the arts in Canada. So I got into my gala gear to show everyone where arts funding is really going and why it is important to our community.
The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Foundation (among others) distribute funds among our arts organizations to keep these companies alive and thriving.
The average income for an artist is $23 000 (compared with the overall average of $40 000)
La Petite Mort Gallery showcases unique and often controversial works by local artists in a downtown studio.
The Saw Gallery also gives opportunities for artists to display their work...
...whether strange and grotesque...
... or just plain beautiful.
This art both reflects and challenges our urban mentalities, our multiculturalism, our childlike impulses, our morality, our sensibility...
...and even our sexuality.
The musically talented appear at arts events in venues like the Mercury Lounge, contributing to our vibrant nightlife.
There are approximately 1.1 million jobs in the arts sector - not just for artists, but for those working backstage or in administration. Like any other business, the arts are providing jobs for all types of people.
Theatre groups rehearse in church basements, preparing to delight you with their theatrical innovations. The cast of Gladstone Productions' "Rabbit Hole" even shared their chocolate cake with me!
Members of Le Groupe Danse Lab are already creating their interpretive vacuum dance.
Artists are creating new work all the time, whether in their private studios...
... or out in the street where the entire world can see it.
Opera Lyra's "Cinderella" will delight children of all ages, inspiring them to create and get involved.
We have to fund programs for our children so they have the opportunity to pursue their talents and increase their knowledge of the arts.
We also have to encourage writers to publish their works locally and support them in their endeavours. We should be proud of our Canadian artists.
And don't forget about our national museums: scientific and cultural learning stems from the arts and is an important part of any community.
The Oz Cafe supports local artists by displaying their work on the walls. What a treat for the patrons!
The Capital Poetry Collective sparks discussion and encourages people to speak their minds onstage through poetry.
It is said that every government dollar spent on the arts goes back into the economy tenfold. But the economy aside, the arts are essential to the general well-being of a nation. We should support our artists as we support our athletes because they all represent us; they challenge us and they inspire us.
On October 14th, consider the role the arts plays in your daily life. Art is your story. ~~ concept and photographs by Jessica Ruano ~~ gala models: Jessica and Jadis