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Archving Everything

February 15, 2009

It seems sometimes like there’s someone conspiring against me when I resolve to really put some time in over here.   I woke up this morning feeling like I was about to go toe to toe with a heavyweight cold, so my thinking abilities are a little distracted.  Hence the scattered the nature of this post.  I’ll still definitely be on Wednesday from 6-6:40 this week.

When I discussed the for an arts funding stimulus a few weeks back I mentioned that we might be better off funding new ideas and bringing classical music.  First off, I was thinking like a kid in the candy aisle.  The reality is that most of the money is going to go towards helping current arts organizations from downsizing as a result of budget shortfalls.  That’s fair.  As much as I’d rather put money towards new ideas, I don’t want some our nation’s established arts organizations collapsing in this environment.

Anyway, I’ll continue to entertain my ‘kid in the candy aisle’ mentality.  Rather than hiring musicians to record lots of music, which was one of my original ideas, a better approach might be copying what our neighbors to the North are doing here.  You can start a fund that helps musicians put on live concerts throughout the country (both in our primary venues and in less common classical music locales as well).  One of the strings attached to the money for these concerts is that the performance will be recorded and available for free download online (barring any sort of musical meltdown or extenuating circumstance).

This idea can be transferred to other art forms as well.  Art museums can create digital collections.  Plays and Dances can be recorded.  These activities stimulate the economy because it keeps artists working.  It stimulates the public who get to appreciate art for cheap or free.  It also stimulates the community because it will hopefully encourage people to then seek out more of these activities in a live setting down the road.  And in non-stimulus benefit, it provides a record of some of these concerts and  also provides a little more exposure for hardworking artists around the world that receive less attention than Yo Yo Ma.  Its a win win win win.  Maybe this is a model to explore as a way to encourage more arts funding.

Speaking of archiving: Gramophone archives essentially all of their articles on their website (h/t Metafilter).

One final thought on the stimulus: Soho the Dog brings up one interesting idea when he suggests that our tax deductible contributions to the arts could be partially taxed to create a REAL endowment for the arts that is sustainable and not subject to budget cuts when politicians are looking to do some grandstanding (because really, 50 million to the arts was going to recklessly break the bank?  Its like a drop in the water clocking in at less than 1% of the whole bill).  It will never happen because it makes too much sense.

Also, check out the killer Four Seasons Harp Quartet concert on that CBC Radio 2 page.  Yeah, I said it: Killer. Harp. Quartet.

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