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Jane Danzo's resignation from BC Arts Council Chair personifies funding frustrations

Last week, the former Chair of the BC Arts Council, Jane Danzo, publicly spoke about her reasons for leaving the organization as related to restrictions and limitations she finds difficult and defeating. Shockingly, Danzo stated she feels it necessary to leave the organization in order to effectively assist provincial arts.

It's an unstable and difficult time for arts organizations across the province. Already, fellow advocates have expressed concern about Danzo's resignation and the implications that go along with it. The Alliance for Arts and Culture initially released Danzo's letter, bringing local and national media attention. Others, including Headlines Theatre joined the discussion with their own open letter to MLA Kevin Krueger.

The Community Arts Council of Vancouver is adding its voice to the call for a review of the BC Arts Council's capacity to effectively support the arts with this open letter to MLA Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

We hope you will voice your own response to the state of BC arts.

Add a comment at our blog.

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AN OPEN LETTER FROM CACV

August 23, 2010

Dear Minister Krueger,

The Community Arts Council of Vancouver (CACV) regrets and respects the resignation of Jane Danzo as Chair of the BC Arts Council. Her letter of resignation clearly states the dilemma that many of us, including CACV, find ourselves in at this time of provincial evolution in arts and culture.

Ms. Danzo clearly has contributed much in her four years of service and did not take her decision to resign lightly. What a dilemma for a committed arts supporter to feel they have a stronger voice outside of the system rather than inside!

The CACV, the first arts council in North America, established in 1946, has been through many changes in over 60 years working for arts and culture in the City of Vancouver.  Currently we focus on community-engaged arts including environmental arts, especially supporting projects for low-income and marginalized groups helping them "give voice" through artistic and creative collaborations.

We operate on a very small budget, and count on BC Arts Council (BCAC) financial support for operating and projects. We find our communications with both the  BCAC and the Assembly of BC Arts Councils supportive to our vigour and commitment to the community arts.

Recent budget cuts, political turmoil and consternation in our sector make it difficult to focus our time and energies on projects we believe are important to society. We are constantly uncertain whether we can positively contribute to the city over the long term in the current provincial funding environment.

We are primarily volunteer-run and volunteer-operated, but government support - both financial and visionary - are essential to our continued development.

We add our voice to the growing breadth and depth of concern from the arts and culture community in BC.

We ask that you advocate in the strongest possible way for the independence of the BC Arts Council to manage funds according to its mandate. We support an arm's length relationship and a well-funded independent arts council.

We request a full review of the BC Arts Council that would  strengthen its capacity to support related organizations and efforts that make up the arts in this province.

Sincerely,

Michael Clague, C.M.
President
[email protected]

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