In our website Arts Advocacy BC we have been thinking about ways of advocating for the arts. I think we realize that government is not going to provide more than token support for the arts unless there are votes involved. A popular thought among those of us in the arts has been “If only we could get all artists organized into something like a union, we could convince government to see the great benefits that the arts bring to society.” I was a great proponent of this idea–it’s even one of the reasons that Arts Advocacy BC was formed–until, with the help of John McLachlan, I started facing certain realities.
Well, if you read some of my earlier posts on the AABC website, under the title “Art–Who Needs it Anyway” you’ll see that I had serious doubts about the general public’s interest in the arts all along. And, let’s fact it, unions have clout because they can withdraw vital services. If the garbage collectors go on strike, we know it! If all the artists went on strike… Well, the idea is absurd. No one would notice, or if they did, they wouldn’t care.
I just read that the Ultimate Fighting Championship or Mixed Martial Arts event scheduled for June 12th at GM Place in Vancouver sold out within 30 minutes of tickets going on sale. I did a little research to find out the cost of tickets to this event in which you can observe a series of pairs of guys beat the crap out of each other. Oh, it’s all carefully regulated, they say, with rules and safety gear. It’s less dangerous than hockey or sports car racing, they say.
Oh yes, you want to know the cost of the tickets that sold out in thirty minutes. They range from a low of $85 to a presumably so-close-you’re-practically-part-of-it high of $7,288. I believe GM Place seats approximately 22,000.
I don’t know whether to break down in tears or emit a blood-curdling scream. Jeez, man, I just forked over $120 bucks to see Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in Seattle in August. And I confess, I only paid $65 to see Madama Butterfly at Vancouver Opera tonight. I’m asking myself what world do I live in, and why should I give a tinker’s damn whether anyone attends an art event anyway?