Put Artists in Charge of the Economy?

Posted by Kitara Julian On 11:36 AM
In an earlier post we mentioned artist Emily Carr, now a Canadian icon but who in her lifetime was mocked and ostracized. She was treated ‘less than a dog’. In that post we talked about a proposed bronze statue, life-size. Now it’s almost completed. A site at the Fairmont Empress Hotel (another landmark here in Victoria) has been chosen for her.
We’ll come back to this topic of recognizing artists, when the statue arrives. Let it be known, however, that anyone who wishes to see work by Emily Carr needs to travel across the Strait of Georgia, to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
That’s where most of her works are located. Somewhere maybe there are documents giving instructions that after her passing, she did not want any of her work at the Art Gallery of Victoria?
Long after the critics, administrators and politicians have gone, good and great art survives. And indeed artists often function as ambassadors for the nation of the artist’s birth (more often when they’re dead.).
Now, with the current global economic meltdown (as it is called), we came across this item:
Put Artists in Charge?
“I’d like to make a modest proposal”, writes Liz Lerman. “Put the corporate executives to work as artists while the artists run Wall Street. Some of the advantages:
-Artists work ridiculous hours for no pay. And most of the artists I know will keep working until they get the job done right.
-Artists do not need fancy offices. In fact, they usually work in the worst part of town.
-Artists do not need financial incentives. Artists do the work they do because they love it. Or because they believe in it.
-Artists do not expect to get anything if they do a bad job. Except maybe a bad review.
-Artists keep very tight budgets.”

This is something yours truly knows all about, i.e. tightening the belt, dire economic living and what goes with it, having stood in line during wintertime at soup kitchens of the Salvation Army in Toronto. Also salvaging T-bone steaks and other food items discarded in bins by the owners of homes where I was a part-time gardener (and planter of tulip bulbs). All to sustain my urge to paint. Signing off, Henri

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