Local artists are sending a message to Mayor Robertson through a new campaign
About a week ago a small group of artists launched a Vision Vancouver funded campaign called "We Back the Juiceman". It was meant to show voters that Mayor Gregor and his Vision team had the backing of Vancouver's artistic community. Well...not so fast.
We've now received a news release from another group of artists who have just launched "We Don't Back the Juice Man". What follows is a copy of the news release they sent out to the media:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Artists Do Not Support Gregor Robertson, Launch ‘We Don’t Back the Juice Man’
Not all artists support Gregor Robertson for Mayor and Vision for city council.
Recently, a campaign website funded by Vision Vancouver was launched, designed to generate support for Vision amongst the arts community. The We-Back-the-Juiceman campaign has no broad basis of support in Vancouver’s arts community. Although some artists might support Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, many more do not.
Over the past three years, rents in Vancouver have skyrocketed and affordable spaces have continued to disappear, making it increasingly difficult to produce art in the city. At present, cultural spaces and artists are forced to rent from slumlords at unaffordable rates in exchange for substandard safety and maintenance standards. Rather than creating affordable studios, let alone much-needed subsidized rental, the city would rather bombard artist-run spaces with “Cease and Desist” letters at the behest of new businesses catering to a wealthy condo clientele.
Let’s make this clear: artists are not the ones boarding up buildings. Every day artists are being evicted from their homes and studios without the slightest support from city hall.
In particular, cultural spaces in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are disappearing at an alarming rate. The phenomenon is city-wide, but in particular, Vision has used new policies to encourage the aggressive redevelopment of the Downtown Eastside, where so many artists have their studios. By encouraging developers to move eastward, the working poor are being pushed out. By forcing artists to bend to the needs of real-estate speculation, new alliances are being created between artists, poor and working-poor Vancouverites who are undergoing the same process of gentrification, displacement and resortification.
We have launched an independent, non-funded website to highlight how the interests of the 1% are being represented by the two developer parties: NPA and Vision Vancouver. Wedontbackthejuiceman.tumblr.com counters the art-washing that Vision Vancouver is using to cover up their three-year track record.
MEDIA CONTACT email@example.com
Something tells me this is not the last tit-for-tat online campaign we're going to see over the coming weeks. I suspect the major parties and advocacy groups in Vancouver are going to pull out the stops trying to get their message out to voters through social media.
As for whether silly campaigns like "We Back the Juiceman" will sway thousands of voters - well, I'm not convinced.