Long years ago, after a protracted and frustrating meeting, a more experienced colleague explained to me why it is much easier to get approval for a huge sum of money that for a small amount.
“We argue for hours before allocating a thousand dollars – but who of us can get their mind around the specifics of spending millions?”
I cannot help but sympathize with the people, often volunteers, who try to fulfill granting requirements. These are musicians, artists, writers, actors, film makers and the organizations that represent them — the same people who carry out hundreds of small and large projects that enrich our lives beyond measure. They are the caretakers of what we refer to as “the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
However, having once served on the Board of the NL Arts Council (not, I assure you, the board mentioned in the first paragraph) I know how cognizant the council is of the scrutiny arts granting comes under — not only from the arts community itself but also from provincial and municipal government members. It was my observation that the Arts Council board, its staff and the judges all did their utmost to be fair and transparent.
Comparing how the $12.7-billion Muskrat Falls funding was approved with the detailed care given to the $44,000 under debate for NL Folk Arts Society, one wishes to God that the Muskrat Falls project could have come under the scrutiny of the NL Arts Council.