Friday, November 19, 2004

"Montréal: city of culture, city with a future" on first blsuh


About two weeks ago, the city released some gobbledy-gook about some sort of cultural policy that it was going to implement. I've finished slogging through about half of it. And 'cuz it is late Friday afternoon, I present you some direct quotes with some commentary on my part. I find it interesting that I haven't picked up on any news articles about it - although I have not been searching as hard for stuff as I used to, say back in July.

If you'd like to read the document for yourself, it is good nap inducing reading, click here, ok. [it is a 441 Kb pdf document]
The City knows that culture is its ticket to the future. It already devotes to it 4% of its expenditures and wishes to do more.
I'd like to think that 4% is a lot, but my gut tells me that this is the municipal equivalent of chump change. As their definition of culture is rather broad, I can easily see for the purposes of the report that road repair being included in the 4% figure.
It is important to remember that the City’s daily efforts – libraries, performing and visual arts dissemination venues, amateur arts, history and heritage development, support programs – contribute significantly to the development of a new public for the benefit of the professional cultural sector representing all artistic disciplines.
Umm, I wouldn't quite go so far as to call 'em liars, but as you will see, the word "significantly" might be one of those things that doesn't belong.
Despite culture’s strategic contribution towards Montréal’s future, its practitioners rarely feel they are a priority in the eyes of the public authorities, or, for that matter, the private sector.
You could say the same thing about doctors, SAQ employees, the blue collar workers, or any number of other groups. I'd love to see somebody come out and tell me what the priorities of the public authorities actually are.
Montréal has inspired Michel Tremblay and Mordecai Richler, Denys Arcand and Melvin Charney, Beau Dommage, Les Cowboys Fringants and Melissa Auf Der Maur...
This is the best of Montréal culture that they were able to enumerate? C'Mon!
Every year, the cultural sector generates expenditures totalling [sic] more than $5 billion and sustains some 90,000 jobs.
It is always nice to see a spelling error in an official government document.
Montreal Libraries… cater to 700,000 subscribers
They are trumpeting this as a good thing? There are more than 3.5 million people in this city, and only 20% use a library. Yuck.
With more than 40% of the population using them, libraries are the primary municipal access to knowledge, culture and heritage.
Oh! I see, when it is convenient, they're going to use the strictest definition of the population of Montréal so that those all important percentages can be larger. I don't think there have been 1.75 million people living in this city since the 1950's.
bringing them as quickly as possible up to the average standards of Canada’s ten largest cities.
For those of you who aren't aware, London, Ontario is the 10th largest city in Canada. It has a population of about 450,000, as Jamie O'Meara can attest, it isn't exactly known as a cultural hotbed.
The main cultural venues selected by the boroughs for cultural dissemination purposes: Centre culturel de Dorval, Centre culturel de Pierrefonds, Centre culturel de Verdun, Centre des loisirs de Saint-Laurent, Centre d’histoire de Montréal, Centre Leonardo da Vinci, Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Complexe culturel Guy-Descary, the Maisons de la culture Ahuntsic- Cartierville, Côte-des-Neiges, Frontenac, Maisonneuve, Marie-Uguay, Mercier, Notre- Dame-de-Grâce, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Pointe aux- Trembles, Rivière-des-Prairies, Rosemont- Petite-Patrie, Musée de Lachine, Salle Jean- Grimaldi, Salle Pauline-Julien, Stewart Hall, Théâtre Outremont, Théâtre de Verdure, Victoria Hall, and several public libraries, churches, community halls, and art galleries.
It looks like there are going to be a bunch of people not on this list who are going to be very disappointed. I can spot at least three dozen, how many can you?
The City Charter gives the boroughs great autonomy in the provision of local services. Therefore, the boroughs are responsible for the programs and activities of their cultural dissemination venues.
Great! There are something like 75 boroughs in this city, so we're going to end up with 75 mid-level bureaucrats going to be deciding what is culture. I can see it now, All Céline and Cirque du Soleil All the time! Woo! Hoo!
Thanks to them, cultural dissemination has been organized throughout the Montréal territory, providing the entire population with professional multidisciplinary programs: together, every year, they are visited by more than 600,000 Montrealers.
17% percent of the city uses the Maisons de la Culture, and this is good?
The development of mass communication tools ensures access by the entire population to the full range of every borough’s programs.
If I read this correctly, this means that everything is going to be available on the internet - Great! The city's website sucks big bull chunks, and they are going to be throwing more money at it?
The common mission of cultural accessibility ensures the synergy required by disseminators.
Does anybody know what this sentence really means?
The City pledges to pursue the democratization and promotion of cultural activities within the municipal dissemination network:
a) by giving priority and support to the initiation and awareness building of its most sensitive clients, notably the young, towards the host of artistic products offered throughout its territory;
b) by continuously informing the population about cultural activities taking place on its territory;
c) by promoting young professional artists and supporting Montréal’s artistic research activities.
I think that I like this sentence, as it is written in political gobbledy-gook, I'm not 100% certain, but on the surface, it sounds good. Let's hope that there aren't any icebergs floating underneath.
The member museums of the SDMM5: the Biodôme, the Biosphère, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Montréal Holocaust Memorial Centre, the Centre des sciences, Centre d’histoire, the Cinémathèque québécoise, the Écomusée du fier monde, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, the Stewart Hall Art Gallery, the Insectarium, the Botanical Garden, the Sir Georges-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site, the Fur Trade in Lachine National Historic Site, the Mission Saint-Gabriel, the Musée de Lachine, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu, the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, the Musée du Château Dufresne, the Château Ramezay Museum, the Musée d’art contemporain, the Just for Laughs Museum, the Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin, the Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys, the McCord Museum of Canadian History, the Redpath Museum, the Stewart Museum at the Fort on Île Sainte-Hélène, the Planétarium, and Pointe-à-Callière.
If the Just for Laughs Museum, the Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin, the Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys are museums, then I'm a monkey's uncle. And what about the Emile Berliner?
the City has... developed the largest complex of natural history museums in Canada, visited every year by more than two million people, including 600,000 youngsters.
I'm not certain how to read this, the Museé des Beaux Arts gets about 600,000 people per year, that "complex of natural history museums" includes about half-a-dozen places. Plus, it's an easy and fun day for elementary school teachers, is 2 million the best that they can do? I'd love to see the comparable number for the Ontario Science Centre, and then figure out per capita figures.
Lastly, the City, while promoting local talent, should open up more to foreign artists in a spirit of reciprocity and with a view to enhancing its collections.
Hip, hip horay!

I'm at page 27 of 56, I'll let you know what I think of the rest, when I get around to it.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

    Your Ad Here

      << Home