The first piece in The Star titled “Report urges 'creativity-oriented economy' for Ontario”, summarizes a multi-million dollar report prepared for the provincial government on how to prepare our economy for the future. Amongst the recommendations:
“- Set a goal of having more than 50 per cent of Ontario's employment in "creativity-oriented jobs" by 2030. Currently, 30 per cent of jobs are in that category, accounting for nearly half of all wages.”The second piece in The Globe titled, “Starving artists? That's not far from the mark”, analyzes a report based on the 2006 census commissioned by The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, and The Department of Heritage. Amongst the conclusions:
“What makes the situation even more distressing is that artist earnings have been decreasing since 1990 – a decline likely to intensify over the next two years. While average earnings for the overall labour force rose by almost 10 per cent from 1990 to 2005, artists experienced a slide of 11 per cent – to $22,731 from $25,433 – at the same time as the cultural-sector work force tripled in size. Actors experienced the sharpest decline in average earnings among artists, dropping 34 per cent to about $18,000 in 2005.”Both of these studies come on the heels of the Department of Heritage announcing a new strategy to spend $25 Million to create The Canada Prizes, an American Idol-style competition that uses big money cash prizes to attract non-Canadian talent for a one week in June in Toronto.
These two studies seem to contrast greatly with the latest funding announcements made by brand new Heritage Minister James Moore. Will the trickle down economics of this one-week bonanza reap dividends for taxpayers seeking to revitalize a domestic creative economy? What role do artists play in a society seeking to increase creativity-oriented jobs by 20%? If your country’s artists are living in poverty and the situation is getting worse, can you expect to make this economic shift?