The Canada Council for the Arts finds itself in a fascinating situation.
While constraint and sustainability are the catchwords of the day, the Canada Council promotes a dimension of life which defies limits to growth: creativity. The capacity of individuals to tell stories, make music, and imagine other worlds appears limitless.
Photo: Dave Chan, 2011
In many respects artistic creativity is not much different from other forms of creativity, but it certainly looks different. It is more sensory in nature, expressing itself through sound and colour, rhythm and rhyme. The right side of the brain is clearly engaged, probably more so than in other creative enterprises like mathematics, physics or economics.
Most importantly, artistic creativity can offer glimpses at how the future can be different – and potentially better – than the past.
These flashes of insight may prove critical to human progress. As Einstein famously pointed out, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Solving tough problems requires new ways of thinking, and who more than artists think outside the box?
As an economic sector, the arts face the same resource challenges as all other sectors, and the Canada Council is hard-pressed to meet the ever-increasing demand for more investment. Setting clear priorities using evidence-based arguments is essential. And the careful allocation of resources to address both supply and demand, talent and access, has been key to the Council’s success for over half a century.
The Canada Council’s support to the arts is a win-win for all Canadians. It expands horizons and creates new opportunities for artists and audiences. Little wonder there is so much optimism about what the Canada Council – and the arts – can continue to do for the country in the years ahead.
Let us know what you think about the role of imagination and culture as creative forces in a changing world.