Unknown Victoria

Victoria: The Unknown City is a guidebook to an eccentric town on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This is the author's blog. Look here for Victoria lore, updates and additions to the book, and hate mail.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Arts, Applied

I hope Stephen Harper's moronic comments about the arts being an "elite" pursuit cost him a majority government on Tuesday. As anyone not blinded by ideology knows, artistic skills are crucial to architecture, design, marketing, and numerous other parts of our modern economy that Harper claims to care about so much.

A great place to see proof of this is the BC 150 Applied Arts Project, created by Vancouver's Emily Carr University of Art and Design. The project's online galleries are filled with examples of beautiful products created here in Victoria, such as Jan and Helga Grove's 1960s ceramic tableware, stamps minted by BC Airways, shipping labels for apples and salmon, and underappreciated architectural landmarks like Strawberry Vale School. None of them would have come into existence without cultivated, encouraged artistic talent.

I was particularly happy that the project included Barney Oldfield's 1940 "Spirit of Tomorrow" car (left), which I'd read about but had never seen. The Central Saanich inventor is a local legend: not only did Oldfield design and build one of the few streamlined cars in existence, he also created a curious revolving house that's still standing (and turning) today on Little Saanich Mountain, near the Dominion Observatory.

I don't know how Barney would vote if he were alive today. But he'd probably agree that anyone who dismisses the value of design also lacks the "spirit of tomorrow" that Canada desperately needs.


At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ross. This needed to be said.

My experience at art college enriched every aspect of my life.


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