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A lack of compassion?Margie Gillis - Artist Funding


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#1 Stecyk

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 07:15 AM

Here's a video interview of Margie Gillis concerning artist funding.

I found it a harsh, uncomfortable interview. But an interesting interview, nonetheless.

I found it harsh because Gillis seemed unprepared. In an email to a friend, I wrote the following:

(excerpt)

Margie Gillis was a good sport to put up with such boorishness. She went to a gun fight with a water pistol. By that, I mean that she wasn't adequately prepared while the interviewer had all the facts and figures at her fingertips. Margie Gillis left bullet ridden.


As I pondered over this interview, I thought about were the points that the interviewer raised and the responsibility of artists who receive funding to support their positions. In essence, should Gillis have been more prepared to articulate his viewpoints? Reflecting on the interview was the interesting part.

Anyway, I will let you view the interview, which lasts for about twenty minutes, to reach your own thoughts and conclusions.

#2 California

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 07:41 AM

Brutal! And painful to watch...

I hope this doesn't give ideas for ambush interviews of artists to a certain "news" network in the US. The current NEA Chair has been doing a good job talking about the "multiplier" help to the economy of arts grants. Those grants create jobs, both directly and indirectly. Any artist interviewed in this economic climate needs to come prepared to talk about that. I hope this interview gives everybody a "heads-up" for future attacks. The amount of money is so piddling, but clearly an easy target nowadays.

#3 Stecyk

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:38 AM

Brutal! And painful to watch...

I hope this doesn't give ideas for ambush interviews of artists to a certain "news" network in the US. The current NEA Chair has been doing a good job talking about the "multiplier" help to the economy of arts grants. Those grants create jobs, both directly and indirectly. Any artist interviewed in this economic climate needs to come prepared to talk about that. I hope this interview gives everybody a "heads-up" for future attacks. The amount of money is so piddling, but clearly an easy target nowadays.

I echo your comments. It was uncomfortable watching, wasn't it? And this video came from a Canadian new station. Canadian news tends to be polite.

Everyone knows of the financial difficulties that most economies are facing, so there's no need to rehash them here. In my email conversation, the other person made the same point you made--that is, those receiving funding need to be prepared to discuss and defend their funding. And it shouldn't be a matter of special preparation. It should be just part being a publicly funded artist.

When I saw the interview, my first reaction was like yours. That is, it was an ambush. But then on reflection with my email friend's comments, I agreed that those who receive funding should know their numbers and should have some strong talking points.

I hope we as a society do not become so mean spirited that we fail to recognize the benefits of our artistic communities.

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:56 AM

It looks as if Miss Gillis had no idea that the numbers and harsh attacks would be part of the interview. The whole thing-(regardless of the veracity and good intentions of the anchor)- looks to me as plain bullying, to be honest.

#5 Stecyk

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:07 AM

It looks as if Miss Gillis had no idea that the numbers and harsh attacks would be part of the interview. The whole thing-(regardless of the veracity and good intentions of the anchor)- looks to me as plain bullying, to be honest.

Perhaps. I would expect, though, that this interviewer (and I don't even know who she is) is known for her aggressive style. So then the questions become, a) Should Gillis have expected or anticipated a difficult or challenging interview? and b) Should Gillis have known the numbers and been able to speak to them regardless?

I do agree with you, cubanmaimiboy, that the interview looked unfair. Gillis was clearly overwhelmed and likely not even able to think clearly during the heat of the interview. That goes to my opening quote from my email.

#6 Ray

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:48 PM

A Canadian friend writes, after reviewing the video, that "Sun News is trying to be Fox News North. The Gillis interview occurred in more-or-less their first week on the air and everyone agreed the vitriol was meant to attract publicity."

#7 Stecyk

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 02:30 PM

A Canadian friend writes, after reviewing the video, that "Sun News is trying to be Fox News North. The Gillis interview occurred in more-or-less their first week on the air and everyone agreed the vitriol was meant to attract publicity."


After your comment, I looked to learn more about reactions to the interview itself. I don't watch Sun News, and I am not even sure it's available. In any event, its viewership was and likely remains small.

Analysis: So far at least, this Sun doesn’t shine on TV

What if they launched an all-news channel and hardly anyone watched?

The fledgling right-wing Sun News Network has barely registered on the audience charts since its launch April 18, with its ratings falling to as few as 4,000 viewers after its first week on the air.

But media analysts say the early numbers may not matter all that much in the longer run.

That’s because the low-budget digital channel will draw most of its revenue from subscribers who sign up for specialty offerings bundled together by satellite and cable TV carriers.


I believe the interview occurred 1 June 2011 and the station began broadcasting mid April 2011. Your point about the station possibly wanting to garner attention, however, survives.

It's interesting to note that the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council was overwhelmed with complaints.

Complaints re interview with Margie Gillis on Sun News Network

This note is directed to those persons who:

may be contemplating the filing of a complaint with the CBSC regarding the interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live; or
have filed such a complaint since June 8.

While the CBSC wishes to thank everyone who has taken the time to send a complaint to the CBSC concerning the Krista Erickson interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live, the volume of complaints already sent to us exceeds the Council’s resources.


Here's an informative response:

Sun News, Margie Gillis and misinformation

Anyone who watched the SunNews interview with Margie Gillis was not only treated to a whole whack of spray tan and shouting, they also heard a lot of misinformation about the arts community. Despite her best efforts, Gillis' saint-like patience couldn't quite cut through interviewer Krista Erickson's agenda, and today, the Canadian Dance Assembly National Council sent a myth-busting document to members of the media.

...

1) The cultural sector has about 600,000 workers, which is about double the level of employment in the forestry sector in Canada (300,000) and more than double the level of employment in Canadian banks (257,000).
 Source: A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada: Based on the 2006 Census, Hill Strategies Research, 2009


I encourage you to view the last link that outlines five key benefits or factors for supporting dance. I also encourage you to read some of the readers' comments to the article. While some objected to the interview, there were a couple of responses out of the 12 that questioned tax payer funding. (There were 13 responses, with one being a blank edit.)

It was definitely a hard-hitting and uncomfortable interview. I hope it causes people to discuss the role of the arts in our society.

#8 bart

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 04:36 PM

Thanks, Steyck, for the link. This was a painful experience ... but an eye-opener. :blink::sweatingbullets::speechless-smiley-003:

A Canadian friend writes, after reviewing the video, that "Sun News is trying to be Fox News North.

It seems that they are succeeding -- in tone, if not ratings.

I agree that artists who receive public funding in a hostile environment need to learn how to defend their own grants and the concept of public support of the arts in general. However, I don't think that anyone could have been "prepared" for someone as aggresive, saracastic, and motor-mouth as this particular tv personality (whoever she is).

I expect this may become an object lesson to other leaders of arts organizations. A case of: Don't Let This Happen to YOU.

#9 Helene

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 06:10 PM

One thing I've found different from living in Canada versus the US is the expectation that artists will receive grants and funding. It's part of the social contract here.

It's no secret that the Harper government has tried in many different areas to emulate the US, and that includes government funding cuts to the arts. That a Fox-like media outlet would try to undermine public support isn't surprising.

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 07:58 PM

I found the anchor's screaming very over the top...sort of a Nancy Grace bad copy...

#11 sandik

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:53 PM

There was a significant amount of discussion about this interview in the dance analysis community, and it does indeed seem that the network (and the anchor as their representative) was acting on a 'cut subsidy' agenda. And the CBC was overwhelmed with the response! Gillis has done yeoman work in dance, and has represented Canada all over the world -- it was particularly sour that she was the artist who wound up in this interviewers crosshairs.

#12 California

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 02:23 AM

One thing I've found different from living in Canada versus the US is the expectation that artists will receive grants and funding. It's part of the social contract here.

It's no secret that the Harper government has tried in many different areas to emulate the US, and that includes government funding cuts to the arts. That a Fox-like media outlet would try to undermine public support isn't surprising.


Although it did not receive much attention in the U.S., Canada had its own controversy over government funding in the late 1990s that was remarkably similar to the attack on the NEA at the time, led by the late Jesse Helms. It is nicely chronicled in a little book still available on Amazon:

Arousing Sensation: A Case Study of Controversy Surrounding Art and the Erotic, edited by Sylvie Gilbert

http://www.amazon.co...17637009&sr=1-1


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