Artists Boycott Art Show Because of Corporate Sponsor

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February 1, 2011; Source: Winnipeg Free Press | Ottowa's National Arts Center is planning on showcasing prairie talent this spring in a series of 80 events over 13 days but more than 40 filmmakers, writers, dancers, musicians and performance artists have signed a petition and are planning to boycott the event because the Centre has accepted money from the Enbridge corporation.

Enbridge is the Canadian corporation that was responsible for a pipeline bursting in Michigan last July, "spilling an estimated one million gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River and forcing state officials to declare a state of emergency."

Additionally, in the aftermath of the spill, the company has not covered itself in glory, stalling any reparations payments on the 2,300 claims filed by local residents who are facing serious health issues. The river remains closed.

Calling itself Prairie Artists Against Enbridge, the group issued a statement that states in part, "By associating with Enbridge, the National Arts Centre associates itself with the company's irresponsible corporate behaviour. For the sake of the centre's good reputation and for the sake of our environment, we urge you to reconsider partnering with Enbridge as a 2011 Prairie Scene festival sponsor."

It will be interesting to watch the outcome of this effort.—Ruth McCambridge