Friday, November 14, 2008

We Will Survive.....Right?

With the current economic crisis reaching global proportions (the BBC reported this morning that the Euro is in recession for the first time since its inception), the arts seem to be the first budgetary appendage on the chopping block.

With the Harper government announcing the cancellation of Canada's first National Portrait Gallery last week after more than seven years of planning, and world-renowned paintings by British artist Francis Bacon and US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat being auctioned off for a quarter of their anticipated value (a mere 27.4 million as opposed to 86.2 million...but a huge drop nonetheless), the visual arts market is taking a nosedive in the economic crunch.

But what about the literary arts market? Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford spoke this week at Ryerson University about why magazines will survive, despite the unstable economy. Only time can tell what will and won't endure, but as we watch and wait with our fists (and wallets) clenched tightly, her optimistic voice is a breath of fresh air. So read on, and breathe deeply...

“When people talk about the death of print, they’re really talking about the death of newspapers. For about 4,000 reasons, most of them too complicated to address here, newspapers are every year less reliable, less comprehensive, less good at their primary function.”

“As physical objects, magazines are lovely to own. We live today in the great age of design. Never before have ordinary people been so obsessed with decor, fashion, architecture or style. There is an enormous appetite for consumable beauty and magazines play into that marvelously. Done right, magazines are eye-catching objects of elegance, satisfying to hold and behold.”

“I think people read magazines to belong to a community, to get a sense of intimacy, to experience catharsis, beauty, and in some way feel smarter. In short, they read them to understand the way people live today.”

“The greatest threat, in my opinion, to the core of Canadian magazines is not the recession because we will survive this one. It`s not the Internet, either, but rather an internal spiritual danger...In my world, writers often seemed to paint their subjects in the best possible light. They certainly weren’t betraying their subjects—if anything they were betraying their readers who had paid $4.95 for their issue.”