In support of adult cultural industries (or, Stripping for provinces)

A case for reversing massive budget cuts to adult cultural industries.

Credit: iStock (Thumbnail: Flickr / Urban Mixer

With the recent cuts to arts, culture and sports programs in BC, Kate Armstrong imagines how similar cuts to other industries might play out

In the provincial budget released March 8, 2010, it was announced that funding from the BC government would be eliminated for arts, culture and sports groups that deliver services to adults, although some programs will remain in place for youth and children.

The changes affect hundreds of non-profit organizations and charities across the province and happen against a backdrop of huge reductions in funding for arts and culture generally.

In my view this approach connects to some commonly held biases around cultural industries that stand in the way of broad understanding of art and culture as a real industry, preventing for example recognition that the sector is a huge economic generator in the province.

BC arts funding cuts

Kate Armstrong has a bone to pick with the BC government over the recent arts funding cuts

If the art and culture sector has value, why are we not supporting it and promoting it through governmental channels, the way we support and promote other industries? And if art and culture have no value, why is it something we find important for our children?

What would it look like if the province cut investment in other sectors except as they pertained to the activities of children and youth? Let us imagine…


1. Wood

Provincial support in British Columbia for programs relating to the wood industry will be suspended in favour of programs that support the production of toys and small playhouses with a maximum width of 6’ x 6’. (Some exceptions may apply for large children.)

2. Business and entrepreneurship

Traditional supports for international finance activity in British Columbia have been replaced by a groundbreaking program to develop and refine knowledge of international finance among children in the province.


3. Roads

Roads designed to transport adults as well as goods intended for use by adults will cease to be maintained in the provincial government’s infrastructure plan. Only trade routes designated to move educational items for children and youth (K-12) will be supported. Programs will remain in place to develop and maintain roadworks in schoolyards that show children how to safely navigate intersections.

4. Infrastructure

Funding toward infrastructure in the province will be halted in favour of education programs for youth and children that articulate the value of infrastructure.

5. Police

Funding in the sector of Community Safety and Law Enforcement in the province of British Columbia will be eliminated in favour of programs that support childhood dreams of becoming a policeman.

For more information about cuts to the arts in BC, visit Stop BC Arts Cuts.



Kate Armstrong

Kate Armstrong is an artist, writer and independent curator. Her interdisciplinary practice merges networked media, written forms and urban experiences. She has lectured and exhibited internationally, producing events and participating in exhibitions at venues including Akbank Sanat (Istanbul, Turkey), the Museum of the City of Skopje (Skopje, Macedonia), ISEA 2006 (San Jose, California), Eyebeam Atelier (New York City) and Tate Britain.

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