Okay. I can tell you right away that this editorial will not win me any new friends. As a matter of fact, it might even get me a few enemies, but I want to address the elephant in the room and discuss why, at last Monday’s budget meeting, YAC was not only reconsidered, but granted the extra $23,365 of funding it requested while TAG wasn’t remotely on the radar.
Yes, I have spoken at lengths about where I think TAG is headed. I think it’s living on life support, on borrowed time and unless it gets a heart transplant very soon, I don’t anticipate it to live much longer. I do , however, really like the direction they are taking. We are seeing positive changes happening within TAG. Artists are getting involved and that’s encouraging.
I did say I thought council’s decision to cut funding was justified and although I hadn’t voiced an opinion on YAC, I agreed with that cut too. TAG, in the state it was, didn’t deserve tax payers’s money and quite honestly, I’m still unsure of what YAC’s purpose is. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Even some councillors I talked to have no idea what YAC is, or does.
YAC’s website, which is very out-dated, claims them to be “a hub to nurture and support an inclusive environment where creativity has a voice.” But besides the constant emails keeping us informed of what’s going on with their members–mostly the same few members– I haven’t seen much of anything that would make me proud of giving YAC my precious tax dollars. At least not anything concrete. I’m sure YAC has wonderful people behind it, and they all mean well, but are they doing more than any other artists organizations not funded by city dollars? I’m not convinced.
As an advocate for the Arts and for its members, Shouldn’t YAC have stood up for TAG, regardless of who’s behind it? When they requested reconsideration, shouldn’t they also have spoke up in support of TAG as well. I understand that they were fighting for their own survival, but here is their mission statement: “Working with strategic partnerships, to connect resources and create opportunities for continuous improvement and mutual financial sustainability, within the arts & culture sector and the region.” Shouldn’t YAC be working with TAG, right now, knocking on doors to help find available alternate funding sources? Isn’t that their mission? Isn’t that what they get money for?
I believe council’s decision to further fund YAC sends the wrong message to the Arts community. How do you choose to kill one organization and save the other? How do you justify who gets a salary and who doens’t? Why is YAC more deserving than TAG? Looking at track records, TAG seems more active. TAG is an entity that you can see, YAC is intangible. In the news, I couldn’t find anything of substance about YAC’s activities of late. A search for TAG returned plenty. Granted, not all stories were positive, but the vast majority focused on events and happenings that brought something vibrant and different to our downtown core. TAG is an institution in this town, YAC is still in its infancy. So why YAC and not TAG? If YAC got its funding, so should TAG.
I feel the sum given to YAC could have been better spent reconsidering hiring an Arts Coordinator, as proposed earlier this year by Councilor Brock Frost. This person could have done something that YAC is failing to do and which is much needed in this town: rally all artists, of all disciplines, under one umbrella, united for the same goal.
But then again, what do I know?