A page A4 article in The Telegram Nov. 22, “Program will enhance N.L. culture, heritage,” incorrectly attributed comments to author Sharon Bala that did not reflect what she said at the Status of Artist Act legislation announcement held at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Tuesday.
The article inaccurately stated that Bala “had not received funding.” In fact, the legislation is not about funding, but rather is a commitment to pay and treat artists fairly and professionally with contracts, payment and recourse to arbitration.
The article wrongly quoted Bala in saying she described the legislation as a “fantastic program” and a “vibrant resource.” “They make me sound like a cheerleader for this legislation when, in fact, any optimism I might have is extremely cautious, especially given the axe hanging over more than half our libraries,” Bala said Wednesday.
“I am a cheerleader for the fantastic cultural programs and institutions of this province — Artsnl, the Arts & Letters Awards, and the Writers’ Alliance of NL and the creative writing program at Memorial. They are the fantastic and vibrant resources that allow this province to punch well above its weight on the national literary scene.”
Bala said the government would like people to believe the Status of the Artist legislation demonstrates a commitment to the arts, but actions speak louder than legislation announcements and it is important to watch the government’s actions and pay less attention to its words.
In a posting on her website, Bala wrote that being offered a podium and a microphone is to be given a position of privilege and she used that privilege to say a few words on Tuesday. “I grew up in a home with very few books,” she said. “My parents are not big readers and back when I was a kid there wasn’t a lot of money for extras. But my town had a great library so there was always a tower of paperbacks on the floor by my bed. Without those books, I would never have discovered the joy of reading. And without the vibrant cultural institutions in this province, I would never have become a writer. The Writers’ Alliance, Artsnl, the Arts & Letters Awards, the classes at MUN and their writers-in-residence — these were the crucial resources that made my career possible. As writers, we have been very concerned about the impact of austerity, not just on our livelihoods, but on the options available for tomorrow’s writers and artists. I hope that in enacting this Status of the Artist legislation the government is signalling a renewed commitment to the arts. We stand, just steps away from a public library, my public library, and I hope this too has meaning, that it indicates a commitment to literacy and the government-funded resources that make literacy possible.”
At the event, Bala read an excerpt from her short story “Butter Tea at Starbucks,” not from her novel “The Boat People,” as was reported.
Due to a production error, three names were missing from a caption accompanying the page B1 photo and article on the winners of the Berg Awards, presented by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Newfoundland and Labrador. Unidentified were Angela Powers, Dave Kelly and Tessa Brinston, all from Gibraltar Development Ltd. Congratulations to all Berg Award winners.
The Telegram regrets the errors.