Par Caroline Gignac - Responsable des stratégies politiques et de la recherche
The living arts, at the heart of a community
Since the beginning of the current municipal election campaign, many leaders of cultural institutions have spoken out to encourage the candidates to make the arts and culture central to the revitalization of their municipalities. The Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) would like to add its voice by taking advantage of this opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the municipal contribution to the development and promotion of professional artistic activities throughout the regions.
Indeed, because of its proximity, the municipal world constitutes the first concrete level of influence for a creator since it links them directly to being in contact with the public, i.e. citizens. This essential closeness constitutes a key element of the artistic experience and is all the more essential when it comes to the performing arts. Using this perspective, we hope that this municipal election campaign will serve as a reminder that culture contributes to social cohesion and a sense of belonging. Amongst other things, it is through culture that the characteristics of a collective identity emerge.
Furthermore, one of the issues we face is the crossroads between cultural leisure and professional practice. We submit that both contribute to improving the quality of life of citizens and that by establishing a clear framework for action for each sector we will be better equipped to respond to the needs and challenges that distinguish them. The CQT bemoans the fact that too often municipalities feel less concerned about the fate of professional artists who live and create in their communities. Here, the issue of capital resources becomes paramount, as it is necessary for the City to understand the obstacles that creators face when it comes to accessing creation, production and presentation spaces.
This being said, we are aware that contractual provisions and obligations of cities are complex: public safety, development, transportation, health, recreation, culture, etc. In this area, the collection of property taxes plays a major role in the financing of their activities. However, some of the criteria used to evaluate the tax rates are not adapted to the economic reality of cultural organizations. Therefore, we recommend estimating a reduced tax rate that would allow for the retention and growth of cultural activities.
The ecosystem that supports the performing arts sector includes many players and the municipal elections are an opportunity to remind us of the multiple realities of the practitioners who energise our milieu, deal with. Therefore, we support the adoption of cultural policies, complemented by substantial budgetary commitments, which would make it possible to underline the commitment of cities and MRCs to the artists of the various communities, as well as making it possible to better structure and define municipal actions in terms of arts and culture.
All in all, the living arts are at the heart of our communities, and we hope that after months of turmoil, all levels of government will join forces to make the arts and culture one of their top priorities. We also hope that the newly elected municipal officials will be able to supply the necessary devices in order to better understand the requirements in the field of culture and thus support artists, creators and craftspeople more efficiently, aware of the challenges they are confronted with.