Wednesday, March 9th, 2010 – Visual artists are concerned about the elimination of the Canadian Council on the Status of the Artist announced yesterday by the Treasury Board of Canada.
An integral part of the Status of the Artist Act, the Council quietly faded in the 1990s when the appointed members’ terms were left to expire. Although it has been left inactive for several years, the mandate of the Canadian Council on the Status of the Artist is still very relevant. The average income of a visual artist, for example, dropped from $20,936 in 2000 to $13,976 in 2005 – two years before the recession. Half of visual artist earn less than $8,000 placing them in a position of extreme low-income.
No other group focuses on the needs of artists across disciplines. The Canadian Council on the Status of the Artist could have been consulted before cuts were announced to programs such as Trade Routes and PromArt or before the National Portrait Gallery or the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography were closed.
“Unfortunately, consultation rarely happens before such cuts are made and the effects are only clear once the programs are gone,” said April Britski, Executive Director of CARFAC, the national association of visual artists. “The Council was a highly productive group that was disbanded because the government wasn’t using it.”
The Canadian Council on the Status of the Artist was created by the Status of the Artist Act and can only be eliminated by a change in legislation. The announcement from the Treasury Board was unclear on if the Act would be changed or if the appointments would simply continue to be ignored.
CARFAC (The Canadian Artists’ Representation/le Front des artists canadiens) is the national association of Canada’s professional visual and media artists. CARFAC defends artists’ rights through advocacy and professional development and produces a schedule of artists’ fees that is widely recognized as the national standard. The Status of the Artist Act empowers CARFAC to negotiate with national organizations on behalf of all visual artists in Canada.
For more information contact:
For media inquiries outside business hours, call 613-791-6411 or 613-255-4645.