Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Art of Economics: John Maynard Keynes And The Bloomsburies

Collage: Art in the Junction in a digital frame of the Arts Theatre Logo
Credit: rosreferat.ru
Spring is coming, the tide is turning, and the Junction has already crested the wave softly, gently, slowly leading by example.

Tough times are not a new experience for most artists and when a society experiences this as a whole it is very often the creativity and innovation of the artists that lead the way to a new phase of development and prosperity. It is the provenance to time and place that secures long term value and what began as the Local Option Art Awards in the Junction has evolved more forms of cultural expression.

Due to the tremendous success of the Local Option as an experiment in the Art of Democracy last year the WTJHS will be helping to facilitate a "Stroller Tour" of the Junction, promoting local artists from one end of the Junction to the other throughout the summer. With the climate both environmentally and economically making it much more appealing to do something healthy, educational and local we can capitalize on the Junction's well earned reputation as an arts community and promote this local phenomenon as a great way to spend the day in the Junction.

Arguably the most influential economist of the first half of the 20th C was the titan, John Maynard Keynes. In January I walked into Pandemonium looking for "The Ghost in the Machine" by Arthur Koestler and came out with a biography of Keynes by Robert Skidelsky. Koestler would have been proud of me.

It was Keynes who was responsible for the post WWII boom that established the infrastructures and educated middle class that elevated millions from poverty until Margret Thatcher and Ronald Regan became enamoured with Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek’s laissez - faire free market economy; anything goes, the markets will balance themselves-- that has plunged us into this economic winter of doom. However I'm delighted to find great sections of Keynes economic policies are being reimplemented to our south and at home as the thaw allows the shovels to restore the infrastructures. The Keynesian experiment has become the precedent for a successful boom that lasted 40 years and had his theory been continued would have avoided this crisis altogether.

So, where is the art in all this you ask? Well, John Maynard Keynes was the financier responsible for an artistic phenomenon known as the Bloomsbury Group that was strongly influenced by the Impressionist movement. The Bloomsburies had a radical approach to the role of art in social structure with a strong commitment to local culture. Keynes concept of full employment included artists as leaders and innovators. By supporting local artists a ferment is created and if the buzz resonates strongly enough precipitates unique artists who gain high profile recognition and elevate others and the environment that produced them. Unlike the handpicked, golden handcuffed protégée of Sachi and 'branded' markets that benefit the few to the detriment of many, Keynes artistic model provides a broader and more enduring prosperity for the benefit of the community at large.

The Local Option Art Awards
was based on these fundamental principles. It was a overwhelming success and the Local Option Gala in October at Latitude 44 Gallery is considered the most fun and exciting event of 2008 in Junction. The guest speaker Don Thompson, whose book The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art said the walls around us are where the true value of art is to be found. If we recognize, appreciate and support it.

May 1st will be a unique opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary and dynamic culture of the Junction at Humberside Collegiate Institute between 6 and 11 pm as we celebrate the Amalgamation Centennial, 100 Years since the Junction saved Toronto from bankruptcy by agreeing to a union of two equal and independent cities. We are commemorating the Centennial with a re-enactment of the celebrations that launched the Junction into it's most dynamic and prosperous phase with intelligence born of strong community spirit for the benefit all all.

Admission is free and EVERYONE is welcome. For more info see the artjunction's Amalgamation Centennial page or contact the Junction Historical Society at wtjhs.ca.

2009 © Cara Reeves

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