Wednesday, November 5, 2008

re: Finacial Stability in the Arts : More Comments

Here are some more comments from the Financial Stability in the Arts Survey:

I spent the last year working as a freelancer as full time minimum wage work left little time for anything else and was still not enough to make ends meet. While the first month or so went well, work quickly dried up and I found myself scrambling for 6 months, unsure at times how I would pay my rent. My field within the arts requires that others hire me to work for them. The "if your art is good, people will buy it" simply does not hold up if there is no one left to hire me.

I have so much pride being a Canadian citizen - but as an arts worker, I find that support for the arts in this country is really lacking. It's upsetting that most people are forced to either leave the country or leave the industry all together to make a living. No where else have I experienced this kind of sad neglect. Personally, I am looking for work outside my expertise right now so that I can find some financial relief...and then return to the arts again where I belong, which has been hugely upsetting. No where else do people work as hard for such little payoff, money, or glamour...we all invest so much of ourselves and get shit upon the whole time by lack of support.

like most of my colleagues, my rent constitutes more than 40% of my income, life has always been week to week, cheque to cheque. I don't believe I've ever known financial security, and I've been working in the arts for over fifteen years. It's what I accepted and anticipated entering the art world, to see such an ignorant view from a world leader is enraging.

In the last twenty years of working as a professional actor I have always had to work anywhere from one to three additional jobs to make ends meet. For many years I consistently earned well below the national poverty level. To work in the Canadian Arts is to do so knowing that work will always be hard to come by and that the absolute best you can reasonably hope for is a chance to practice your craft at a wage that will allow you to survive without having to hold down a full time job outside your chosen career. I have never wanted anything more out of life than the chance to do what I do best and practice my art with the reasonable expectation of making a decent living wage. Without the support of our government even that meager hope is gone.

Working in the arts is like walking a tightrope in the dark with a small flashlight in your mouth.

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