Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This week's federal budget contained few surprises, but there was one item that came out of left field, shocking the cultural sector: Luminato founders David Pecaut and Tony Gagliano, pictured above, have been granted $25 Million to create the Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity.
A number of artists have expressed ire that this announcement comes on the heels of the cancelation of the PromArt program, abandoning the federal government's commitment to promoting Canadian artists abroad. This new money will be used to host a pre-Luminato competition, where prestigious panels of judges will adjudicate international competitors in the fields of dance, music, art, and dramatic arts. The winner gets cash and a slot in the two-year-old festival that recently received another unprecedented $15 Million donation from the Ontario provincial government. New Conservative Minister of Heritage James Moore calls The Canada Prizes "the largest cultural prize-giving in the world".
What do you think? Is this a genius ploy to make Toronto an international hub for arts and creativity? Is this a genius ploy to to fund culture without rewarding Canadian artists for depriving the Conservative government of a majority in the recent election? How the heck do these two dudes get multi-million dollar grants from any level of government that no one else can apply for?