Go tax yourself!

Posted 6.2.17

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | With the first (and very impressive) shows at the Stone School in Quebec's Portage-du-Fort now open, with the Pontiac Artists' Studio Tour soon to launch, and with the closing of the year-long tour of the Focus Pontiac exhibition in St-Andre-Avelin, another show at Domaine Pontiac, not to mention the release of the Pontiac School of the Arts courses for this summer -- it's time for us all, amid Spring's water and tasks, to give our Pontiac's cultural health a moment.

Add the plans of the Les Artistes de la rivière in Portage and the Upper Pontiac artists, we might assume our cultural life-lines are pretty solid. Indeed, we should be pleased -- and grateful to all our artists and their organizational people.

I'm sure our rural cultural life, here in "poor old Pontiac," is richer than, say, that of our nearest urban centre, Gatineau. In terms of population numbers, our artists-to-population ratio must beat city ratios hands down.

This is a genuine asset for us here in the countryside. Not because the arts are pretty or good for home-decoration or fun for all ages, but because being in touch with the arts gives our life-spans and our life-satisfaction a measurable boost. "Culture," for want of a better, all-inclusive term, is as essential for a satisfying and fulfilling life as are the usual necessities -- health care, wholesome food and eating habits, education, recreation and exercise, including music and the other arts.

Arts are not a luxury, they are a necessity. Necessary for a whole life, living in a way that assists us translate all that life throws at us into our happiness index. The arts help us appreciate the multi-wealths surrounding us, and not merely count the years until our pensions kick in (one sorry approach to living! Life has to be more than accumulating junk and preparing for its final years).

Looking at this closer we'll find that we are getting these positives at very little cost to us or our community. We get the benefits thanks to the artists themselves, and especially to the organizers and volunteers (who are about to be celebrated). If volunteer organizers are the backbone of our cultural life, they are also its life-blood and muscles. We are the beneficiaries, us and our kids, grand-kids, and beyond -- and spring's the time to consider sharing that load.

There is an easy way to share this effort, and it's called "the Pontiac self-imposed arts tax." Remember that? Call a spade a spade -- it IS a tax. But it's a tax that we voluntarily agree to pay, we set our own amounts, and we distribute to the place or people we choose, not a tax imposed by anonymous government, distributed who-knows-where in a big bureaucratic machine. This is the free-est tax imaginable: you decide exactly where the money goes, you keep the product, and you decide the amount you'll contribute. You're the beneficiary. It's Pontiac's self-imposed art tax.

That's an easy tax to take, isn't it? Plus, we are funding not some corporation's profit plan, but supporting one of the essentials of living a good, rewarding life.

The idea is that every Pontiac household undertakes to buy a piece of local art (or a recording, if its music, etc.) every year. If your walls are full, give the art as a gift, donate it to a CLSC, school, daycare, office or local service.

You' have done everyone a favour, especially yourself and those around you. That's real bang for your buck.


Copyright © 2017 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/6.17