A word from FGM – May 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns of the past year have disrupted all our lives. And the cultural sector has not been spared. At the same time, literature, music, movies and television have seldom played as big a role in our daily lives. Writers, musicians, actors and many other artists accompanied us through the gloom as the virus kept us confined. Thanks to technology and to the inventiveness of those working in the sector, we were even able to access some of the living arts, like theatre or live music, in the comfort of our homes. We owe a debt of gratitude to these artists who, in a particularly difficult situation, provided us with a bit of respite, even comfort, during some of the toughest times. Although they had to work virtually, they allowed us to keep in touch with each other – and with our humanity.

And yet, the world of culture was among those hardest hit by the pandemic. It is also among those that has had the hardest time recovering. It was recently reported (article in French) that 24% of the jobs in Quebec’s cultural sector – about 50,000 of them – were lost last year, That represents 54% of the GDP it generates. Worse yet, 41% of artists surveyed were thinking of ending their careers. Nearly 65% of them said they had felt psychological distress. Considering a drop in income oscillating between 26 and 69% as compared to the previous year, that is understandable. There is no getting around it: the cultural sector is in crisis.

Act today to perpetuate artistic creation tomorrow

More than ever, the survival of our cultural institutions, and the need to support our artists, are pressing issues. At the Foundation of Greater Montréal, we have been working on solutions for a long time. Through the creation of in-perpetuity endowment funds, we can support the long-term development of arts organizations. And in turn, these organizations foster artists from all backgrounds, as well as affording us access to culture. With the generosity of benefactors and the matching programs that multiply the impact of their donations, we can do so sustainably.

Artists, like the rest of our community, will rise again. They are resilient individuals. They have proved it, as they continue to stir us and make us think, despite the obstacles placed in their way by the pandemic. Soon, we will all put this crisis behind us. Until then, let’s reach out and support artists as much as we can. Just like they do for us, day in and day out.

Karel Mayrand
President and CEO
Foundation of Greater Montréal