Public meeting with municipal election candidates: Paying more than lip service to arts and culture?

 In

Montreal, October 1, 2013 – Tonight, Tuesday October 1, 2013 at Montreal’s Club Soda, Culture Montréal has organized a public meeting at 7:30 p.m. with the four main candidates in the municipal election: Richard Bergeron, Denis Coderre, Marcel Côté and Mélanie Joly. This will be an opportunity for Montreal artists from all backgrounds—many of whom already joined forces at the Parc des faubourgs rally on Sunday to challenge the mayoral candidates—to express themselves and ask the right questions to find out how committed our future mayor is to supporting arts and culture. There are certainly grounds for debate, more so than ever, in fact, as to how the City of Montreal plans to tackle the arts and culture issue, specifically in terms of how the Arts Council’s budget ($12.5 million) has grown. Its funding has only increased by about $4 million over the last 20 years—a far cry from the $20 million or so that would make sense. Today the main donor of funding to the city’s cultural organizations and artists, the Council is struggling more and more to come up with consistent funding for some of its programs—particularly for Vivacité Montréal, whose budget is in freefall and is struggling to sustain an ever-decreasing number of projects.

Diversité Artistique Montréal (DAM) has partnered with this event organized by Culture Montréal and invites all of the artists who fuel the heart and the soul of our city to come and ask questions and listen to the platforms the different parties will be putting forward. Let’s hope they deliver something more than the stock sentences found in some party flyers. It’s easy to talk about having artists’ interests close to heart, but what about giving us some hard facts and figures? We believe that if there is a time when arts and culture need our support, then it’s particularly during hard times like these, not during times of economic prosperity. Why? Because art is good for our moral health. It has the power to bring hope and heal all manners of ills, often without words. Let’s see if these politicians are willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to arts and culture.

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