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 Post subject: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
To all our friends in Canada, we have an interesting arts funding question.I was having a conversation with a friend last night here in Seattle. This particular friend has extended family in Canada. Anyway, this friend claimed that the arts are very heavily funded in Canada, including commmerical film and television. Which I basically already knew. Furtheremore, this freind says that along with the funding that folks receive, groups have to sign some kind censorship or agreement to steer clear of certain topics/issues. I found this hard to believe, but didnt' really have any knowledge to the contrary. Is anybody informed on this issue? And if so, how might it affect modern dance choreographers specifically. I ask because this has been such a "hot" topic in the US in recent years, with the "NEA Four" and all.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 10:52 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
To look at the situation elsewhere, in the arrangements for the Arts Council funding for groups in the UK, there is certainly no clause where, '...groups have to sign some kind censorship or agreement to steer clear of certain topics/issues.' My slight knowledge of Canada makes me very doubtful that any such clause is included in the agreements there. <P>A more subtle form of censorship would be simply not allocating funds to groups because of the subject matter of the project. Again, I have not heard of this happening and a proportion of UK modern dance is critical of the society around us.<P> <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited November 19, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 3:52 am 
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Location: Australia
trina, what is the "NEA Four"?

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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 9:24 am 
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The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts-USA government agency which funds the arts-a piddling amount, I might add)a few years ago had a giant controversy. Four artists--Karen Finley (performance artist) and three others whom I can't remember, were denied their already awarded grants due to "pornographic" content or some such wording. It became a HUGE 'brouhaha" with much publicity. Charges of censorship, ...blahblah were made!!...Since then, I believe, funding structure has changed...very few awards are made to individual artists now..it's just too "risky". There are more awards given to presenters, thereby putting the "onus" on them take responsibility for what they present.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 7:56 pm 
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Trina,<P>I know that I've read something in Canada Council documents about how they won't support overtly political work, ie. something created solely as a political propaganda. I tried to find a source to quote but of course I couldn't turn it up. (Anyone else?) <P>The Canada Council is Canada's national funding body (like the NEA), but gives grants to individuals as well as insitutions. Grants for Artistic Creation go through a jury. The jury is made up of peers in the discipline and it's a tough process. I went to a workshop on CC juries which was an eye opener. The jury receives support material about a week before they get together but in the actual meeting they don't spend more than 10 minutes reviewing the material. This includes videos, project outlines, budgets, etc. Artists in Canada cannot sit in on the process either, so we don't hear the critique. <P>There are Provincial arts funding bodies in Canada as well; they differ from province to province. Quebec has traditionally put more money into the arts than say, British Columbia. Artists can also apply on a municipal level for grants, dependant of course on the population base of where they live. There may be no arts funding in small towns.<P>It may seem like there is a lot of money available in Canada but it is a small pie with a huge line of artists waiting for a very small piece. Last year the Canada Council awarded $102 million to the arts, which included artists and arts organizations. That's not a lot for a country this size. <P>A choreographer from Saskatchewan who applies for funding provincially and as well as from the CC may get more money than a choreographer in Quebec because there's less competition. Of course, the downside is living in Saskatchewan (sorry, to any Prairie people!) as it is not a mecca for the arts in Canada.<P>In the 70's and early 80's there seems to have been a lot more money available to artists than there is now. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has had significant cutbacks in the past decade. Working at The National Film Board used to be like winning the lottery for filmmakers but now has little flexibility for creation there. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was supportive of the arts (and dance), and when he left federal politics it signalled a decline in the arts here. The Conservative governments in Canada that followed haven't been particularly arts friendly.<P>Most performance artists in Canada work "seasonally" but are not considered seasonal workers so they cannot collect unemployment money during down times, only welfare. I've seen a lot of choreographers, dancers, actors and other artists end up collecting welfare to survive. <P>So getting back to your censorship question, in a very roundabout way, the artistic "peers" of a given jury could conceivably be a conservative group that balks at funding certain projects. Or the Canada Council could reject their choices, but I find that highly unlikely. The Canada Council is funded by and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage but they are supposed to be at arms length from Government. That doesn't mean that art isn't ever the subject of Parliament. Money given to The National Arts Centre for a painting that was literally a stripe on canvas was roundly criticized. We have yet to have a show that gets as much attention as the UK's "Sensation". Maybe our juries <B>are</B> conservative. In all honesty, I don't see a lot of dance from Canada that pushes buttons. <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Marie (edited November 20, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 9:39 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Marie, many thanks for explaining the mechanics and the reality of the Canadian arts funding system.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 10:31 am 
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Marie---many thanks for explaining your system....it just goes to show...."the grass is not always greener". It would be interesting to compare per capita funding for arts in Canada vs. US. Yes, you only give 102 million for the arts, but I believe your population is a lot less than ours. I have to check my figures, though for US. NEA funding.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 12:11 pm 
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
I would be really interested to learn more about arts funding in the US, Trina. My grandfather was American so I have the option of living in the US but am nervous about it since I don't know anything about how artists are funded there.<p>[This message has been edited by Marie (edited November 21, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2000 1:31 pm 
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Location: Glen Gardner, NJ
Trina and Marie---you wouldn't like American government funding which in 2000 was about $96 million---down about 50% over the last 6 years. PBS did a nice show with the co-founder of Lyons Ballet and others. On a population basis the Canadian Govt. spends 10x per capita. Of course America has many foundations that make sizable contributions to groups and artists. Thank God.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance funding in Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2000 10:42 am 
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Wrongski..many thanks for that info. Thank God for the corportions...as a one-time Ralph Nader suporter, I can't believe I just said that...but....at least groups like Philip-Morris and others support the arts--Hallelulja!!!


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