"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Majority Is not necessarily right

 I failed to mention  a major factor about the management plan adopted  by the town for  Church Street School; the theory wealthy donors  in this affluent community would contribute  generously to bring  much needed culture to the masses.

Within three years the facility would be up and running and completely self-sufficient which would of course entail paying all overheads like a commercial rent and maintenance.

An Arts and Culture Fund  was started by David and Ephraim Merkur , owners of the Aurora Shopping Centre forty years previously in thel hope others would contribute and it would grow to be a viable entity.

After probably thirty years ,developer Joseph Liebovitz  was  the only additional donor.

The  fund was swallowed up in  town resources during the last term. No reason given. Grant applications are no longer invited and presented to organizations within the community..

But I digress.

If the theory of self-sufficiency of culture programming by a self-appointed,independent board had proved to be valid, the right to conduct business behind closed doors would be val

Public funds would not be under the control of a non-elected  secretive body.

A  Board which is less self-sufficient with each passing year.

Annual requests are for additional support.

Local business are tapped for hand-outs and  Trillium grants received.

It 's not clear The Board  or Council is aware  of expectation  of self-sufficiency.

The town sees the  funds as an investment in Economic Development ; tourism for example.

That would  be  a reason for the place to be accessible  on week-ends and statutory holidays.

But it's not.

When the consultant's plan for management was adopted, it was likely on an eight- to -one vote.

I felt I no compulsion to accept the theory. My experience indicated otherwise.

It seems hardly necessary to point out....I was right....again.


Anonymous said...

I believe residents are well aware of the aim of self-sustainability. The head of the board, or at lease one of them, acknowledged that he had never heard of such a thing. Perhaps this is why the board membership is constantly in a state of flux. Keeping minutes might be useful to pass along their history to those who follow.

Anonymous said...

Culture seldom pays its own way.

Just look at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Art, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Ballet Company - they are always close to or in deficit and are constantly involved in fund raising from the public.

The same could be said about similar organizations right across Canada.

But they raise money from a public that donates.

They do not raise money from a municipal government that is given, as a virtual right, as is the case with the ACC. And to top it all off they meet in secret.

The aforementioned organizations have boards of directors of eminent patrons who meet and talk in public and discuss ways to invite that very same public to suggest ways and events to raise money so that they might continue to thrive and provide culture to their community.

Anonymous said...

It would be sooo refreshing if they were to give the town a great big cheque instead of always being on the receiving end.

Anonymous said...

Similar organizations across the country are being hit with a reduction in funding including the festival in TO. Victoria lost the Luminara a few years ago and it will not likely be back. Maybe you have not noticed in your rarified atmosphere but libraries are turning to private donors in TO. So please do not play the cultural card on me.
" It's the Economy, stupid "

Anonymous said...

Stratford started with residents and built from there [I have the paperwork if you need it ]. They had no place of their own. The Centre has always been funded - there have never been artists living in residents' homes and people sewing costumes into the night,

Anonymous said...


There is no doubt that government support of cultural activities is declining, in part because of the economy and large deficits.

This places a greater load on corporate donors and individual members of the public.

In the majority of instances the money is found and the activity is able to continue, despite the occasional deficit.

Anonymous said...

Are you unfamiliar with " donor fatigue " ?
The ACC has lost more big donors than it has replaced. They just are not special enough.

Anonymous said...

"The ACC has lost more big donors than it has replaced."

Kindly cite examples, 19:52.

Anonymous said...

There's only one donor I care for it to lose and that's the town of aurora.