Thursday, May 31, 2012
O Very Rich, What Will You Leave Us This Time?
Why is it so hard to find funding in this country for the Arts? And I'm not talking about government funding here, or the tiny cheques we manage to beg from the odd supporter of our creative endeavors. I'm talking about large gifts of financial support from the private citizens who dip into their multi-million dollar fortunes to create grants and foundations to support the development of the Arts in the communities where they live. Where, for example, is the Sir Stafford Sands Foundation for the Arts or the Tiger Finlayson Fund for the Literary Arts or the HG Christie Theatre for the Performing Arts or the Norman Solomon Arts Foundation? Where is the Rupert Roberts Endowment for the Arts, the Kelly Foundation, the Butler Foundation, the Lightbourn Fund for the Development of the Arts? Where are the libraries, museums and colleges the moneyed elite have created to nurture and enrich and give back to the communities that made them so wealthy to begin with? And it is not just the old guard moneyed elite who mean to take their multi-millions with them to the next world. The new generations of the super rich also refuses to part with more than a pittance if anything at all when it comes to gifts of financial support for the development of the arts in The Bahamas. They might on occasion give a few hundred to one scholarship fund or another, but would laugh out loud at the idea of putting down the first million to establish an arts endowment fund named after them that would support the development of the arts in their community. Why? I asked my friend, the writer Helen Klonaris, why our millionaire class refuses to invest in the Arts in a serious way. She said it was because they remain convinced that anything we create is shit and not worth the money. I wonder if they would continue to think that way if they understood that such gifts of financial support were not just about creating arts foundations, it was about creating communities where we nurtured and produced more painters, poets, writers, musicians, performance artists and great creative minds, and less murderers, rapists, robbers and other violent criminals who cannot resolve conflict without a gun.