By Frank Moher
Jane Danzo, in her letter of resignation as Chair of the BC Arts Council and in various exit interviews that followed, has confirmed what most of us already suspected: that the Liberal government now sees itself as arbiter of all things cultural in the province. At last, we can begin to see the future.
In her bombshell fare-thee-well, Danzo told Minister of Ineffectuality Kevin Krueger that the Council’s job is “virtually impossible to accomplish because the Board’s relationship to government is not at-arms-length.” The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that her resignation was prompted by “a meeting late last month at the ministry” that “confirmed that the arts council does not have an independent voice from government, something Danzo once understood it did.” Or, as she tells straight.com, “it was made very clear that the ministry speaks for the arts. So I feel the council is hampered in its role as an advocate not to have an independent voice.”
Come, come, Ms. Danzo, why so glum? Sure, that whole “arms-length” thing is imperfectly understood by the Liberals — but imagine the riches to come!
For example: the world premiere of My Fair Gordon, produced by the Kruegerrific Dinner Theatre, in which a lowly Mayor’s assistant is taught to say “Take Axes to the Taxes of those what Backs Us” and becomes Premier, before being presented to high society at a meeting of the Bilderberg Group.
Or the upcoming exhibit at The Vancouver Art Gallery and Dollar Store: Images of Rich, in which photographs of the Minister of Housing and Social Development in his many fine suits serve as a metaphor for photographs of the Minister of Housing and Social Development in his many fine suits.
Or Triumph of the Bills, a specially-commissioned documentary film in which the province’s bankers and CEOs assemble in BC Place, where they are showered in what at first appears to be confetti but is soon revealed to be the proceeds of the HST.
We knew the government had something very special in mind for us when it announced its first foray into artistic production, the Spirit Festivals, earlier in the summer. These exciting events, Liberally-funded with the millions of dollars no longer being given to lesser artists like, well, artists, are intended to “build provincial pride” — and what’s more likely to do that than an event dreamed up by the former Minister of State for Mining? But they will be just a hint of what is to come now that the state has decided to find a barn and really put on a show!
And it’ll do all this on the lowest per capita arts funding of any province in Canada — $4, compared to an average $26 elsewhere. Now that’s talent.
So buck up, Ms. Danzo. Shelley described poets as the “unacknowledged legislators of the world,” so who’s to say legislators, in turn, can’t be poets? And who knows? If we’re really lucky — maybe they’ll quit their day jobs.