Like sports and recreation, arts deserve support, too

Dear editor,
Recently in the Comox Valley we were treated to Elevate the Arts, an initiative of some very dedicated art lovers.

Dear editor,Recently in the Comox Valley we were treated to Elevate the Arts, an initiative of some very dedicated art lovers.All kinds of artists and artisans performed and presented their works of art and crafts. Some artists were there to demonstrate the techniques of producing their art.This whole event was a wonderful display of partly spontaneous artistic expression. The event drew people into downtown Courtenay and couldn’t help but improve traffic into local businesses.It seems that the value of art is often tied to its economic impact, and that’s fine. Art through time is often, if not always, a way of connecting with the gods or symbolically producing prosperity in the hope that it will become real in the next fall harvest.Art has also been used as a means of enhancing or questioning authority and power. Its importance waxes and wanes.In a time like ours, art works, paintings, sculptures, etc., become commodities like everything else and some art works sell in the millions of dollars. In some senses, art is big business and it is affected by economic ups and downs as much as anything else is, but it has always played a major symbolic role in our lives, beyond its economic importance.To think about how important art is to us, just think about no music (and poetry), no performance, no entertainment, no paintings, pictures, photos, sculptures, (building) design, floral arrangements, prints, clothing with artistic design, among many expressions. Marketing and business in general use art extensively.Given art’s historical importance and contemporary relevance, it’s always seemed strange to me how reluctant governments have been to support the arts and culture unless they can show a direct link to their economic impact.All three levels of government in Canada dedicate miniscule proportions of their annual operating and capital budgets to the arts although some communities are much better at it than others. All levels of government spend relatively much larger proportions of their budgets on sports and recreational activities and facilities.I’m not suggesting that the arts should be funded at the same level as libraries, sand playing fields and golf courses, but, in a real sense, the arts are just as essential to good community health as sports and recreation. All governments have supported the arts and culture in the past. We are very grateful for this.Over the almost 40 years of the existence of the Comox Valley Art Gallery, all levels of government have extended to it their financial support. Local governments, the CVRD, the Town of Comox but particularly the City of Courtenay have all supported the Gallery. The City has most recently supported the Comox Valley Art Gallery with special funding allowing it to continue operations, but by and large, funding is usually ad hoc, project-based and insecure.Governments need to step up and support major arts organizations in the same way they support sports and recreation, not necessarily at the same level, but in the same way, using budgetary line items or creating services.  Roger G. AlbertEditor’s note: Roger G. Albert is the president of the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

One of the rescues at CATS - Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society’s new location on Knight Road in Comox. Photo by Erin Halushak
Feline rescue organization growing into new space

Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society opens new facility on Knight Road

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Neighbours have reached out to media on several occasions with complaints about the property

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Tentative COVID-19 vaccine site chosen in the Comox Valley

B.C. is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 mass immunization plan

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Sean LaFleur and Geoff Piper of Courtenay Nissan will be running 4 miles every 4 hours all weekend long in a fundraising campaign for YANA (You Are Not Alone).
VIDEO: Courtenay Nissan hosting YANA fundraiser

Courtenay Nissan is hosting a special YANA fundraiser all weekend long, from… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

The Courtenay Fire Department hopes to start a new recruit training program in mid-2021, pending Provincial Health Orders. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay Fire Department gets creative

Due to public health orders resulting from COVID, the Courtenay Fire Department… Continue reading

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read