Sunday, February 11, 2007

Talking about the Arts

Today, on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee (R) was speaking about the importance of the arts in terms of “music and the arts in the curriculum” and “developing the both left and right sides of the brain”.

Now, there are things about Governor Huckabee platformthat I’m not fond of, we differ on some issues, but I’m not American, I don’t live in Arkansas, and we’ll probably never have a conversation in my whole entire life so I won’t dwell on those - but it absolutely blew me away that he brought up the arts at all – Republican (read “conservative”) presidential candidate. This led me to consider the impending provincial and national elections (both not yet announced). Who’s talking about the arts (in politics)? Provincially, nobody. Nationally, nobody. I stand ready to be corrected.

This only serves to point out that politicians speak to and take action on the issues that they perceive to be issues, the issues their constituents believe to be issues, and the issues that are made to be issues by interest groups etc. Case in point. The Environment. It’s not as if the environment took a sudden turn for the worse in the last few months. And yet, the environment has become a top issue – to the point where the federal Conservatives have launched a set of attack ads on the federal Liberals on that very topic. So what changed? Perception.

How does this matter to the arts? How does this matter here? Perception. Want something to be an issue – make it an issue. If we want the arts to be an issue, we must make it an issue. How? Phone, fax, emails, letters and conversations. I received an invitation from my MLA Richard Brown, asking for my input on his platform. I’ll write back, and stress the arts, and arts funding, in my letter. According to the stats on this blog, there are a hundred or so Island readers who, I assume, have some affinity for the arts. One hundred letters, or calls, emails, faxes, or other conversations, can have a difference. Who is your MLA? Check here, or, here.