Saturday, August 27, 2011

Role of Arts Councils

Ordered a few books from Conundrum Press ( recently. It's a great place to get excellent Canadian graphic novels you CANNOT order from amazon.

- Gilded Lilies by Jillian Tamaki
- Inkstuds: interviews w Cartoonists by Robin McConnell
- Chimo by David Collier

One thing I noticed, all of them are supported by the Canadian Council for the Arts. Which means Canadians' taxes are put to good use, funding worthy graphic novels.

The same goes for the best thing I read this year, Paying For It by Chester Brown. Now if you have read that, you know how ballsy it is for the Canadians to put money behind this. Kudos to them.

Which brings me back to the role of arts councils and media development authorities at home. To be gatekeepers of social and moral values? I just want them to be professional and do their job - fund cranky, creative, fun projects instead of thinking of KPIs and bottom lines. (don't do the finance ministry's job for them!)

I'm reminded of Robert Mapplethorpe's The Perfect Moment exhibition of 1989, (mounted 3 months after his death) which sparked a debate in the US about public funding for controversy works. 22 years after reading about this incident in Time magazine, my take is for arts councils to do their job. Be the professionals you are supposed to be. Fund the worthy works (and not just because it's local but because it's good) and let society debate on its merits.

One shouldn't avoid debates. Because we can all learn a lot from it.

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