Unfair for MLA to use symphony as a scapegoat

Re: 'Dan Davies: No cash for B.C.'s forestry sector, but millions for Vancouver symphony', Op-Ed, Alaska Highway News, July 9, 2019

The BC Alliance for Arts + Culture was disheartened to read the recent editorial from Peace River North MLA Dan Davies criticizing the Province's investment of $1 million to give free access to symphony concerts to families in the Lower Mainland. Mr. Davies argues that this money would be better spent creating forestry jobs. The BC Alliance is a non-partisan organization, and we seek to work with all of our elected officials to enrich the lives of British Columbians across the province. This also means correcting misconceptions about the value of the arts where they occur.

BC’s cultural sector employs over 98,000 people and generates $7.19 billion annually in cultural GDP, a number that only rises as new technology makes creative skills increasingly relevant. In addition to their economic value, the arts have proven positive social impacts, addressing important issues like mental health, addiction, poverty, dementia, and youth at risk.

It is unfair and unjust for Mr. Davies to use the cultural sector as a scapegoat for the hardships facing another profitable industry. Artists and cultural workers have dedicated their lives to bringing people together and uniting BC communities, struggling to survive every step of the way. We’re all trying to build a better, more sustainable society. From our perspective, we’re all in this together.

If Mr. Davies, or anyone else, would like to learn more about the value of arts and culture in British Columbia, we encourage them to visit allianceforarts.com or get in touch with us. We welcome the conversation.

— Brenda Leadlay, executive director, BC Alliance for Arts + Culture

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