You ever get those moments when you wonder what you would do if you won a few million in the lottery? I’m going out on a limb to promise I’d make art happen. Not in any particular way, just drop a few grand here and there. Well, I had more time on my hands than that. So here’s my plan.
Just so I don’t offend anyone or leave you out, anyone I mention is either for a good reason, or my personal respect, and i’m sure there are a lot out there who will question my methods. All right, let’s begin. One of the first things I would do is to throw a party. Yeah, the Rum Runner comes to mind and it would be open bar – the party of the year – by invitation only. I’d invite 150 people or so that I like, to come and celebrate with me. If you’re reading this you’re probably already on the list so don’t worry.
The diversity of people would be the attraction. The number one question would be – how do you know Brian. The mix would be the kick I would get. You have to meet five people you didn’t know before. Yes, there would be activities – of course I’d have a team of event people around to help me. I’d be sitting somewhere down the end of the bar just watching it unfold.
There would be restaurant people, work colleagues, musicians and actors, visual artists, theatre managers, festival producers, and just about as many sectors as you can imagine that touch the arts.
The main event is a roast – for lack of a better term. In the backroom people will be invited to say how they know me – and tell a little bit about me good or bad. I have broad shoulders so shovel the shit in around me but not too high!
Well, that’s not really the main event. I never told you that I would be passing out some cheques at a point when most are on their way to happy-land from the alcohol fumes, the exotic mixes, wines that haven’t been opened for ever, and of course the shooters.
I have a soft spot for some of you that I would like to return the favour of you being my friends. Oh, I`m not buying you, I just want to make life easier so you can make more art, maybe with a little less stress in your life. And it`s not big money either – just seed planting:
Dave my friend, you need to update your studio, and lets take a look at that bluegrass festival while we`re at it. Here’s a cheque. Azaam, I have some equipment waiting for you at a store – go and pick it up and make movies will you. Paddy, here`s a donation to cover an executive director’s salary for two years, now go and make Flush Ink a force in the country. And the list goes on. Majdi my friend, here`s something to help Impact reach audiences. Richard Garvey, I`d like you to start a label and produce like-minded artists – here you go. Ann Marie – don`t leave town, here`s a studio for five years. The best you can find. I`d announce the purchase of The Legion to turn into an arts centre! Those of you who want a music awards event, Phil, IrisEnt. I`m in, but we have to hold it at Chrysalids with a reception at the Walper – and we have to work together. And it has to be televised, and streamed Brad, Joseph – whatever it takes. I`m not going to list all of you, it would take me a week to prepare but there is something for everyone. I love house concerts Brian, but have you ever thought of becoming an agent…let`s do something about that. More people ought to see your shows. And then there`s CAFKA – here`s a few artist project s sponsorships for the next three years, but let`s get some national press coverage during that time as well. Rigglevake – lets take it to the next level…are you in? And Isabel, let’s get the word out there.
So for you who think I`m crazy giving my money away, I`d like to suggest my next step. Matching funds. The Legion would take some investment. I`ll put up half and the City and others can come on board. You`ve all heard that money begets money, or I hope you have heard some version of that. The next phase is leveraging matching funds. A million should do but I`m not opposed to a little more.
My third phase for those who think I`m completely bonkers is to set up a foundation with some of the money that would create a legacy. But here`s my problem. The further away you get from the first phase and the party, the less art happens. I mean, we have foundations in the community. We have council grants, and we have government grants. What I don`t see too much of these days is investment in the arts at the grass roots level. I`m probably jaded but the point of all this is to make art happen. Does anyone out there see the allegory? Is there anything to learn other than that I would most certainly spend a lot of money…but who else is doing this?
We all need to invest in the arts, and should do so in as many concrete ways as possible. A little here, a little there, how do you think we really go from good to great? It`s certainly not by dreaming about it.