LIVING SLOVAK
THE CHURCHES, CENTRES OF ACTIVITY
THE ORGANIZATIONS
WILL YOU SPEAK SLOVAK?
THE UNKNOWN ARTS
SOCIAL NEEDS
COMMUNICATIONS
IS IT TIME TO GO BACK?
IT'S ONLY POLITICS
YOU'VE GOT TO BE THERE
WHO WILL SPEAK FOR US?
REMEMBERING THE PAST
THE WIRED COMMUNITY
PROJECTS TO CONSIDER
SPORTS TIMES
A PLACE TO SHOW OUR STUFF
THE STRUGGLING ARTS
COME TOGETHER
WHAT YOU MUST DO
SLOVAK SOM, AJ SLOVAK BUDEM!

Slovaks in Canada
in the Year 2000

by John V. Stephens, Q.C.,
Honorary Consul, Slovak Republic


THE STRUGGLING ARTS

North America has had a predisposition for centuries to the arts of England, France and Italy, because they represented the cultured distinction between the sophisticated and the hoi polloi.

In due course, things Russian became the rage, and Russian music and especially ballet was supposed to represent the finer tings in life. Wealthy persons, starting with royalty, supported the arts and particularly composers and performers for whom they wrote and performed what today we call the classical arts.

These classical arts became the foundation of the European culture which worked its way into the curricula of schools across Europe and into North America. The works constituting the Classics became established as the core of studies aspiring composers and performer had to learn first.

In due course, recordings were made commercially, and the search for more music to record led the recording companies to record just about everything that was considered classical because copyrights for the mostpart had expired and it was cheaper to record these works which also increased their popularity by familiarity.

As a result, whole libraries were built upon these classical artists and works, and though they were of benefit to society as a whole they were to the detriment of struggling artists in other countries.

The funny thing is that Canada says it doesn't want to finance the performance of the arts from other countries even though present-day Canadians come from those countries. But it has no compunction about supporting the performances of works from the so-called classics of Germany, England, Italy, France and Russia!

The fact is that in Slovakia we have many great composers and artists too. But because all the publicity and the availability of recording is of artists in those select five countries and the United States, the works of Slovakian artists and composers are often ignored.

Into the year 2000, we can not afford to miss out on our cultural life, and our community must appeal to those affluent members of our community to consider sponsoring and promoting artists and groups from Slovakia to perform in front of the North American audience, to make themselves better known, and to demonstrate that the arts of Slovakia are equivalent to what are considered the works of the Great Masters.

This is an appeal then to our churches and our fraternal organizations to take greater interest in advancing Slovakian arts by promoting events not just for the community but for the North American audience as well. Each fraternal and parish should sponsor a "Talent Night" or a "Slovak Artists on Review" program at which our artists from Slovakia and North America could perform and be recognized.

Unfortunately the Canadian government is reluctant to get involved in assisting in travel assistance for what it calls multicultural programs which it considers amateur. We have to make government realize that Slovak artists are not amateurs, they are professional in every sense of the word. It is discriminatory then to fund programs showing English, German, Italian, France and Russian cultural arts as the ultimate while those of other countries are excluded.

Sponsoring cultural arts programs can be risky, but I am convinced that with proper planning and financing we could put on shows at Massey Hall, Thompson Hall and the Royal Alec which would attract a good audience of our fellow North Americans. And make money!

It's becoming known in a world of diverse established interests that is our problem.

Copyright of "Slovaks in Canada in the Year 2000" 1996 - John V. Stephens, Q.C.
All other contents & photographs 1997, Ondro Mihal.
All comments should be forwarded to
Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com.
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Last update on
May 29, 1997.