Are we being extorted by art?

Discussion in 'Politics (Toronto Issues)' started by Glen, May 4, 2009.

  1. Glen

    Glen Senior Member

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    Why is it that frequently, when trying to seek zoning changes, is the carrot live/work space for artist? Or fees from a new proposed Billboard tax ($18 million)going towards.........
    - An historic 53% increase to the annual municipal funding available to all artists, festivals and arts institutions.
    - And, close to $100 000.00 dollars for public realm improvement for each Toronto ward including projects such as greening every year.
    - As well, as over $300 000.00 annually for each of the 13 priority neighbourhoods to fund accessible youth arts programming.
    - Topped by hiring 17 dedicated officers to enforce the new billboard bylaw and collect fines.


    Along with the community improvement grants frequently going towards public art.

    Is this going to far?
     
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  2. UserNameToronto

    UserNameToronto Active Member

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    No. Are you serious?

    I think we all know youth arts programming is a waste of money--more tasers is a much better way to deal with juveniles. I'd much prefer thye money be used to buy each resident of Rosedale a monocle!
     
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  3. Urban Shocker

    Urban Shocker Doyenne

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    Agreed. This whole arts thing's gotta stop. Next thing ya' know folks will start appreciating things for their aesthetic value - and then our museums will be filled with people looking at stuff rather than tryin' to take them outta the display cases to see how they work.
     
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  4. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    One might think that when times are tough, the city might want to freeze spending (and not just for non-union workers).
     
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  5. Acting Minor Traitor

    Acting Minor Traitor New Member

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    I don't know if I'd go so far as to say "it's not going far enough," but as far as I see it, it's good and respectable that the city is investing in urban art programs. Public art is one of the key things separating from Toronto from a concrete wasteland that calls itself a city. The more of it we have, the better off we'll be - even if it's modest and unobtrusive.

    Take this bike lock in Yonge-Lawrence Village I found the other day. It's not the sort of thing that grabs you by the throat and seizes your attention, but it does improve the streetscape.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/apbarton/3501632170/ for the embiggened version.
     

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  6. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    P.S. My mom was an artist. She didn't expect to live off handouts from the city or province. She sold her wares at art markets and eventually a couple of galleries, and supplemented her income with other jobs.

    Having grown up with that environment the one thing that struck me as a kid was the number of people who felt they deserved to get free money, no matter how bad their art might be.
     
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  7. Hipster Duck

    Hipster Duck Senior Member

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    ^Yeah, but that's also true of the much lauded science and tech sector. I used to know this small high tech upstart in Mississauga (whose name will remain anonymous) and they had one guy whose job was to basically write grant requests to the Federal government. For an entire decade their balance sheet would've been in the red if it were not for Federal government handouts.
     
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  8. UserNameToronto

    UserNameToronto Active Member

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    :p
    ...and others realize that governments should INCREASE spending in tough times to cushion the blow from decreased private sector spending. This is in Econ 101, you may have heard of this Keynes character: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_economics .

    Also, I really think high-tech knowledge economies are a dead end. Silicon Valley is going to turn into death valley any day now.

    We're sowers of wheat and hewers of wood baby! Pulp & paper is where it's at! Auto too.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
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  9. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    I'm glad you brought that up. (I new someone would.)

    Even the NDP in Saskatchewan (where I grew up) aren't firm believers in Keynesian economics. Oh the shock... they actually liked balancing budgets. For example, they shut down a whole bunch of hospitals/clinics that the Conservatives opened, because they were an incredible waste of money.


    If the grants exist, then you should apply for them, whether you're an artist or a scientist. It'd be stupid not to. I'm just saying a governing body shouldn't increase those grants willy nilly just because it's some pet project of city council, esp. during lean times.
     
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  10. Glen

    Glen Senior Member

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    As much as some would like to re-frame the question, the issue is not should we support art but is it disproportional? Look at the proposed way the $18 million in fees is spent. What about pools, graffiti abatement, public health, homeless shelters, bike paths. Are these not worthy?

    Look at how the developers looked to appease the art community to garner support for planning concessions in Liberty village and at 330 DuPont. The message seems to be that it is okay to lose ICI land if it is for artist but not for anything else.


    One more thing, does this really require 17 inspectors?
     
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  11. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    Actually, it does require a lot of inspectors for the billboards for example, although I don't know if 17 is the number.

    I know a guy who is a billboard advertiser. He applauds the goal of keeping illegal advertisers in check. However, he doesn't like the idea of increased taxation of billboards for obvious reasons, because it is punitive to those who actually abide by the rules.

    Perhaps they could have addressed this in stages. Get those advertising illegally to stop first, or else get them to pay as they should be. However, the problem is that the city has a culture of not reigning in spending, and needs to increase taxes somehow to compensate. The billboard advertisers are one easy target.
     
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  12. Prometheus The Supremo

    Prometheus The Supremo ►Member №41+⅜◄

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    what are the 17 inspectors for?
     
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  13. GraphicMatt

    GraphicMatt Looking forward to a FRESH START for Toronto

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    I think you could absolutely make the argument that the 'art lobby' in Toronto gets extra attention because those behind it depend to be wealthy and have friends in high places.

    Still, though, I'm leery of those who make any kind of noise about art cuts - it's dangerous ground. And, pragmatically, what's the downside to too much arts funding? Too much art?

    There's an ROI with arts funding as well, particularly with the success of events like Luminato, Nuit Blanche, Contact, TIFF, etc.
     
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  14. Eug

    Eug Senior Member

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    Actually, I never made that argument. I just don't think it deserves more funding in lean times.

    Too much spending, when we don't actually have the money.
     
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  15. Glen

    Glen Senior Member

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    "hiring 17 dedicated officers to enforce the new billboard bylaw and collect fines"
     
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