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Cartoonists petition Canada Council for grant eligibility

Kate Beaton (photo: Justin Tobin)

Yesterday at San Diego’s international Comic-Con convention, two generations of Canadian cartoonists, Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant) and Lynn Johnston (For Better or for Worse), shared the stage for a discussion about the craft of serialized comics.

Back at home, the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists is hoping to put some cash and prizes in the pockets of artists like Beaton and Johnston. The group is petitioning the Canada Council for the Arts to make cartoonists and cartoon publishers eligible for its grants and the Governor General’s Literary Awards (graphic novels are eligible for funds but are excluded from the GG awards).

The petition states:

Given the artistic quality of Canadian cartooning, it’s cultural importance, its centrality to an understanding of Canadian society and history, and its appeal to readers of all ages, a strong argument can and should be made that the Canada Council should support the work of cartoonists and that of publishers interested in publishing their work. The Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists is ideally positioned to lobby for such a change in Canada Council policy. And we do know that ACEC members are good at getting their point across.

UPDATE: According to Tara Lapointe, head of marketing communications for the Canada Council: “There are no barriers for editorial cartoonists or other artists who bridge editorial and visual art to apply for support from the Canada Council. In fact, they are eligible in two different programs. Under our Publishing program, publications need to demonstrate editorial oversight and/or commentary as part of the collection of works. In our Visual Art program, all professional visual artists, regardless of medium, are eligible if they meet two criteria: firstly, they have produced an independent body of work (e.g. not commissioned) and have had their work presented in a professional context such as a curated exhibition.”