Must like the “Merry Christmas sign debate” marks the beginning of the Christmas season, local arts groups screaming that if the city does not increase their budgets by 50-200% they will close up shop marks the beginning of Spring.
Basically, the city gives arts groups millions of dollars every year for a performance here and a weekend there. It is very expensive compared to say the cost of running a community centre for the same amount of time. Do not get me wrong, I fully support arts in elementary and secondary schools (provided that it supports education and does not become the education itself) but these arts groups need to become self-supporting. Some of the best arts groups are the small ones that everyone is a volunteer and does it out of passion without financial gain. Amateur Threatre for example and I support funding for them to carry out their activities as volunteers.
I do not support increasing funding for professional arts groups.
The Festival of Friends is a great event and generates income for many of the artists involved but in light of the tight finances of Hamilton and the fact that taxes have to increase again this year, the Festival should not get a 95% increase like they are asking for. When we have money to increase funding to community centres, schools, amateur arts, amateur sports and volunteer-based events; Hamilton does not have the money to hand over to professional artists.
Next, the regular if you do not give us what we want (more money), we do not think we will have another festival argument. These professional artists say this every single year and the sky never falls….. so it will not fall this time.
But please do this next year as well, it boosts my spirits knowing that Spring has arrived.