Arts a lower priority

Re. Ed Schneider’s letter Upset about funding cut. (Castanet, March 27)

Ed Schneider is upset the Penticton Art Gallery had its funding cut.

Well, Ed, the world has bigger priorities to address. In Penticton it may be rising crime, increased uncivil behaviour in the downtown core and affecting the business beyond that, homelessness, drug abuse, housing affordability, rising mental health issues and other social issues.

The arts are at the bottom of the list when it comes to the harsh realities of human needs. Budgets have to be cut. Priorities must go to critical human services. This is reality.

People in the arts have always survived on the generous handouts sourced from the taxpayer. That is fine in the good times. Nobody generally doubts the benefit of artistic work to the betterment of society, however, looking around at some of the costly, non-local efforts in the Okanagan, perhaps it is time to start reviewing the value delivered to taxpayers.

Some of these ugly monstrosities are highly questionable and rather than soothing the soul, these brutalist edifices grate due to their negative visual effect on the landscape and our lived urban environment.

Priorities. People. Real needs. Life and death. Those on the margins. Those at risk of disappearing from us. The bread and circuses of the arts scene can wait until better times when we are all awash with money. .

Instead of relying on a not-for-profit business model based on benevolence and handouts, look at a self-financing for-profit model. It's how every other business has to function.

Ricky Daytona, West Kelowna

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