The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Presenter Interview
CINARS, over a quarter of a century  The vision and accomplishments of founder Alain Pare

*6 Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS) is a South Korean arts market launched in 2005. It is organized by KAMS.

*7 Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS) is a center for the support of arts management under the umbrella of the South Korean government’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Does CINARS engage in arts advocacy in light of the recent cuts in funding for the arts? It would seem that being able to cite a 5.5 time return on investment would be effective with policy makers.
CINARS itself has conducted the main research on the economic impact of the arts business with the help of survey professionals. Our organism has conducted the survey by contacting around 500 arts companies, managers and agencies from all around Canada and we received about 35% responses. CINARS has sent the new survey results to the government at the end of March. In this survey, the negative effects of the government’s cuts in arts funding came out clearly. It showed that many Canadian companies had to cancel their overseas performance tours and lost incomes as a result. The only exception was Quebec, where the provincial government did not cut funding for the arts.
 I told our [federal] Minister of Culture that if he cuts support for arts programs, we will lose all that has been built up so far over time and we will have to start all over again. For example, it is meaningful for us to come to TPAM every year because we create a link, a relationship with the people and the artists from Japan. It is long-term process, as I repeatedly said, it requires long-term investment and planning. If we miss one year, the link will be broken and we will have to start over again next time. That is a difficult thing to do. The new government in Canada now has been in office for two years and we are still having a hard time making them understand.
 As you know, Canada has just hosted the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and a lot of funds were shifted from arts & culture to sports. Canadian athletes hadn’t done well in the Olympics last time so the government poured millions of dollars into winter sports. Now that Olympics are over, I was hoping the government to reinvest in culture so the budget that was cut from culture programs would come back. However, this morning, I read in the newspaper that British Columbia, the province that hosted the Olympics, incurred an enormous deficit because of the Olympics so the budget for the arts and culture in British Columbia had been cut 95%! Can you believe it? It’s going to take five or maybe ten years to pay back Olympics deficit. Those of us in the arts and culture sector have no choice but to take a part of the debts.

So, those of us in the nonprofit arts sector should be careful not to be so eager to agree with hosting an Olympics Games, shouldn’t we?
Yes, and that reminds me, Montreal hosted in 1976 the Summer Olympics with a deficit as well, and it took more than 20 or 25 years to pay back. Olympics may be good for the visibility of our country, but I am worried that the government is going to cut the budget for the arts and culture again. We have a good relationship with the Quebec government, even if the federal government money is not there anymore, at least the Quebec government will continue to support the artists. But now, it’s very bad for the arts communities of other Canadian provinces, because the funding cuts are hurting their ability to create new art works and tour, and that is likely to continue for some time. CINARS want to support and promote the artists not only from Quebec but from the other provinces as well, however, it is very difficult for us to do that if we are not receiving funding support from the other provinces.

A new platform in Beijing

I heard that a new arts market will be starting in Beijing and that you will be one of the advisors for that. Since there is also an arts market in Shanghai, what sort of vision do you have about the Beijing platform and the relationship with Shanghai and others?

I’m surprised you have heard about that already (laughs). Chinese government asked me to be a consultant on that project. The main direction will be to make Beijing an international performing arts platform. One issue with Shanghai’s current Performing Arts Fair, I believe, is that it is mainly focused on the domestic performing arts. It’s also because Chinese government wants to promote Chinese artists abroad.
 Other countries like Japan and South Korea also have performing arts markets and people know how to manage theaters and festivals. In China the way they work is really different. I feel that we have to re-create or build the structure, share our know-how and provide training. However, I don’t want to change things unnecessarily to “our way.” I would prefer to have them try to do things their own way.

What are the major differences you see in the Chinese way, for example?
When we tried to have Quebec artists tour in China, we started to talk about fees and the Chinese organizers asked, “Why do we have to pay artist fees?” In China, performers in ballet, orchestra and opera are all paid by the government on a regular salary. They go to rehearsals on a regular schedule from Monday to Friday and whether they are doing ten performances or 200 a year, it’s the same salary. Artists also have a very secure job in terms of incomes, and I don’t want to see that changed. In China the performing arts have been mainly in traditional forms, but many presenters now want more contemporary and original forms of artistic expression. For example, one of the things I can propose at this time is inviting choreographers from other countries and creating new contemporary works with traditionally trained Chinese dancers. Today, younger generation in China are well-educated, have disposable incomes, travel abroad and grew up with internet, so they know what is happening in other parts of the world and want to see new things. They don’t want to go and see the same ballet and opera that their parents attended. However, they don’t have new contemporary performing arts in China yet. Creating a new base in China will take long times, it will be a long-term process. For example, they can invite choreographers from Japan or Korea and work together to create new collaborative dance works. Such international collaboration should work for theater and music as well, and they will be looking into such collaborations as new possibilities. Such new works will be interesting for presenters from Canada, or Japan or other countries. Presenters will think that if they go to China they might find something original and completely different from what they have already found in other countries. I always say, “First, let’s talk about what is the best way for you.” Then, after many discussions, then, they should take the final decisions. In 2005, I went to South Korea when they created PAMS (Performing Arts Market in Seoul) (*6) and stayed there for two weeks and provided training sessions for their staff members. Then, they created KAMS (Korea Arts Management Service) (*7) as an organization to promote Korean artists abroad. They used the CINARS model, I have always said to them that such format must be adapted to fit their own culture and expectations. I have been consistent in that message. It’s important that in Asia, people should do business not in the American or European way, but in the Asian way.
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