Art-protest-001 Now that If We Were Birds has closed, I have turned my attention to the rest of my life as a professional theatre artist in this community. And, happily, I am busy working and volunteering alongside my colleagues, both Francophone and Anglophone. One of my volunteer activities is to sit on the comité Actions politiques of the Conseil québécois du theatre (CQT), of which Imago is a member. Its mission is to create an annual plan of political actions, which aim to defend the theatre community’s interests, and ensure their implementation. Over the past few months, the committee has understandably been preoccupied with the municipal elections. And it now appears we are about to go to the polls again to elect a new provincial government. We have therefore begun the task of articulating what we need, expect, hope for from this new government.

At our last meeting, everyone around the table spoke passionately (and with extreme clarity, I might add) about our struggle to survive or, more precisely, our fight to ensure our survival. Emerging artists and companies are facing a lack of resources, principally financial, as access to government funds through the various councils is quite limited, if not impossible. Established professionals and organizations are trying to keep their heads above water, while they fight for highly coveted foundations and corporate dollars. And everyone is dealing with governments that seem uninterested in the arts. The CQT hopes to change this situation by challenging the different parties to make their cultural platforms known and, following this, engaging in a conversation about the importance of the arts in our society. The main request, given our concerns, is to increase the financial envelope of the Conseil des arts et des letters du Québec (CALQ) to an adequate level. This would go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the performing arts in this province. The committee’s conversation brought us around to a discussion of values and led us to formulate the following statement and questions:

Imagine a world without art. Is this a world we wish for our children? Do our leaders truly wish to silence its poets, the ones who tell the stories about where we come from, who we are, what we struggle with day-to-day? Do the citizens of Québec wish for a society that does not value culture?

A budget is more than numbers: it represents a person’s, a company’s, a government’s priorities. It is, in my opinion, a sort of manifesto of its values. The PQ has just presented its budget. It had promised a balanced one, and had undertaken several measures to accomplish this. The news is not good: it has failed miserably and the deficit is considerable. And so I ask myself: will our request be heard as reasonable or will we be seen as spoiled children? Surely it is not unreasonable for artists to request a decent living wage, to be given a bit of financial stability while practicing their craft. And so, finding the right words to express our strong belief in the importance of culture is crucial. I guess this would be a good time for us to refine the ‘art of asking’… I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with me by emailing me or Joy at Imago: micheline@imagotheatre.ca or joy@imagotheatre.ca.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Micheline

Art-protest-001 Now that If We Were Birds has closed, I have turned my attention to the rest of my life as a professional theatre artist in this community. And, happily, I am busy working and volunteering alongside my colleagues, both Francophone and Anglophone. One of my volunteer activities is to sit on the comité Actions politiques of the Conseil québécois du theatre (CQT), of which Imago is a member. Its mission is to create an annual plan of political actions, which aim to defend the theatre community’s interests, and ensure their implementation. Over the past few months, the committee has understandably been preoccupied with the municipal elections. And it now appears we are about to go to the polls again to elect a new provincial government. We have therefore begun the task of articulating what we need, expect, hope for from this new government.

At our last meeting, everyone around the table spoke passionately (and with extreme clarity, I might add) about our struggle to survive or, more precisely, our fight to ensure our survival. Emerging artists and companies are facing a lack of resources, principally financial, as access to government funds through the various councils is quite limited, if not impossible. Established professionals and organizations are trying to keep their heads above water, while they fight for highly coveted foundations and corporate dollars. And everyone is dealing with governments that seem uninterested in the arts. The CQT hopes to change this situation by challenging the different parties to make their cultural platforms known and, following this, engaging in a conversation about the importance of the arts in our society. The main request, given our concerns, is to increase the financial envelope of the Conseil des arts et des letters du Québec (CALQ) to an adequate level. This would go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the performing arts in this province. The committee’s conversation brought us around to a discussion of values and led us to formulate the following statement and questions:

Imagine a world without art. Is this a world we wish for our children? Do our leaders truly wish to silence its poets, the ones who tell the stories about where we come from, who we are, what we struggle with day-to-day? Do the citizens of Québec wish for a society that does not value culture?

A budget is more than numbers: it represents a person’s, a company’s, a government’s priorities. It is, in my opinion, a sort of manifesto of its values. The PQ has just presented its budget. It had promised a balanced one, and had undertaken several measures to accomplish this. The news is not good: it has failed miserably and the deficit is considerable. And so I ask myself: will our request be heard as reasonable or will we be seen as spoiled children? Surely it is not unreasonable for artists to request a decent living wage, to be given a bit of financial stability while practicing their craft. And so, finding the right words to express our strong belief in the importance of culture is crucial. I guess this would be a good time for us to refine the ‘art of asking’… I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with me by emailing me or Joy at Imago: micheline@imagotheatre.ca or joy@imagotheatre.ca.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Micheline