It is a well known fact that apples are red… well… except when they aren’t… because sometimes they are green, or yellow, or even purple and sometimes they can be a combination of colours. What do apples have to do with culture? Describing the apple one person enjoys is not the same as describing all apples. The culture in one place is not the same as culture in all places. The dictionary defines culture as “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.” This wonderfully general view of culture allows for a community to create it’s own cultural identity.
According to Money Sense Magazine you become a cultural wasteland when your artists do not get paid for their work. That is their ranking system, and that is how Kenora became a cultural wasteland. Here is their criteria:
How to Become One of the Best Places to Live in Canada
Culture: 2.5 points (out of a total of 101)
A city could receive up to 2.5 points based on the percentage of people employed in arts, culture, recreation and sports. Source: Environics Analytics
So, is Kenora a cultural wasteland? Of course not. Artists are not artists because they get paid (although, we do prefer to be paid for our work just as much as any other person). Artists are artists because it is in their DNA, their souls, their minds, their hearts, their hands and their voices. A place’s cultural identity and worth cannot be defined by statistics just as an apple does not have to be red to be an apple.