September 12, 2009 § Leave a comment
For ten years every September in Vancouver the art galleries organize mass openings over the course of two nights. Thursday and Friday night marked both the successful event called Swarm’s tenth anniversary and also the end of Swarm. As a result of the recent 81% cutbacks to funding in the arts of British Columbia thanks to Premier Gordon Campbell, a large number of these small galleries will be closing. There have been protests, and small victories in fighting back for the little funding there was to begin with, but what have protests really done for us lately? Protests signal social unrest, but what difference does that make to the people in charge? I’m not a pacifist, no, I really do feel as though there must be some alternative method of getting a group of people’s points across. Petitions can be ignored; angry letters can be ripped up; riots just make your group look unstable; silent protests are easy to turn a blind eye to. I just don’t know what a good method actually is. The world has gotten so big that local problems are often overlooked and dismissed as not being part of ‘the big picture’. So we can talk about Iran (where riots haven’t been working either) and say that’s more important as a world issue and say that some artists out of work isn’t so crucial by comparison, but that’s exactly the problem. Economies have ups and downs, but it is the responsibility of the government to keep it together. We may be losing money, but nobody said I had to sacrifice my culture too.