Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council arts advocacy articles and press releases from 2010
Municipal Election Arts Priorities
In preparation for the 2010 municipal election campaign, Toronto Arts Council and Foundation’s Advocacy Committee, working with other members of the city’s arts industry, developed the following municipal arts priorities. The Committee believes that fulfillment of these priorities will contribute to a better Toronto, able to reach its potential as a leading creative city on the world stage.
Priority One:Toronto leads Canada in arts and cultural activity. It should lead the country in per-capita cultural investment. Toronto currently invests $18 per Torontonian in arts and culture, outperformed by Vancouver ($26) and Montreal ($33).
Priority Two:Toronto needs to position itself as a truly creative city and global cultural capital. Toronto needs to commit to a new generation of the Culture Plan, with clear targets for the next decade and new investments to reach these targets
Priority Three:The arts are a catalyst in economic development, tourism and civic participation, and should be at the centre of all the city's strategies and planning. Toronto must include culture in infrastructure planning, and take a leadership role to leverage private and government support.
Details and Context
Priority One: As a first priority, Toronto must immediately increase investment to $25 per Torontonian, honoring the overdue commitment of the city’s Culture Plan. This increase must then be complemented by timed incremental increases until Toronto reaches its goal of leading per citizen cultural investment among Canadian cities. Recent new city revenues, hard won by young arts advocates, could be used to address this gap without adding undue pressure to the property tax base.
Priority Two: In 2000, Toronto commissioned a culture plan to guide the city’s cultural development over 10 years. In 2003, the city launched Culture Plan for the Creative City – a plan that outlines over 60 recommendations aimed at positioning Toronto as a creative city and global cultural capital. During its life, the Culture Plan has been a catalyst for several positive investment and policy initiatives. However, at the 10-year mark there are still unmet targets and unleveraged opportunities. It’s time to revitalize the City’s commitment to making Toronto the global cultural leader that it can be. Our city boasts a rich and diverse landscape of creative talent and is poised to contribute more to the city’s social and economic prosperity agenda. Toronto must review and adopt the next generation of a culture plan, outlining bold and achievable goals for City Council, with clear targets for timely implementation of new investments and initiatives.
Priority Three: There is a growing consensus among leaders across all social and economic sectors that the arts industry plays a key role in strengthening the health, livability and vitality of our city and its neighbourhoods. Arts and culture activities have a significant role to play in citywide strategies such as economic development, infrastructure, public transit, the environment, employment, tourism, social programming, city beautification, and civic participation, among others. The time has come for culture to be recognized by governments at all levels as an essential consideration in all policy planning processes. Toronto must include culture as a fundamental tenet in the city’s policy planning framework, including its capital infrastructure plans. Working across departments, the city must identify where culture can contribute to broader city initiatives, and include cultural investments and activities within these agendas and strategies.
It is essential that our political leaders champion the arts by actively working with the arts industry and city leaders across sectors to instigate policy reform at the local level as well as work to maximize investments from other levels of government and the private sector.
The 2010 City Budget Passed by City Council
April 16, 2010
As expected, following the persuasive arguments from so may of Toronto residents, arts funding was increased by 2%. From TAC’s perspective this budget increase represents a modest advance in a very complex budget year, and an excellent indication that the City Budget Chief and Councillors are working hard on behalf of the city’s artists.
The better news is that City Council also approved a motion by Budget Chief Shelley Carroll calling for a strategy to increase arts funding as outlined in the approved Culture Plan. Although Councillor Carroll’s motion did not specifically direct the new billboard tax revenues to go to arts funding, it did recognize that the new revenue finally makes increased funding to the arts possible, and supports the
2003 Culture Plan funding objective of $25 per capita. As Toronto currently spends about $18 per capita, this recommendation supports an infusion of an additional $17 million in arts spending.
Congratulations are due to the Beautiful City Alliance and others who worked so valiantly for so many years encouraging City Council to take a stand for the arts. The effort is paying off.
"Toronto Arts Council congratulates City Council, and in particular Budget Chief Shelley Carroll, for its ringing endorsement of Toronto's arts community. Everyone with Beautiful City Alliance who has worked so hard to put the arts at the forefront of the city agenda deserves a big vote of thanks." Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director TAC
Looking ahead to the election campaign: pressure from the arts community will be key to ensuring that Mayoralty and Councillor platforms include a commitment to $25 per capita arts funding.
In the meantime, please let your Councillor know how pleased you are that Council supported Councillor Carroll’s motion and that you are looking forward to much stronger municipal support for the arts in the coming year.
Councillors supporting Budget Chief Shelley Carroll’s motion:
Councillors Ainslie, Augimeri, Bussin, Carroll, Cho, Davis, De Baeremaeker, Di Giorgio, Feldman, Filion, Fletcher, Giambrone, Grimes, Hall, Heaps, Kelly, Lee, Lindsay Luby, Mcconnell, Mihevc, Milczyn, Moeser, Moscoe, Palacio, Pantalone, Perks, Perruzza, Rae, Thompson, Vaughan, and Walker as well as Mayor Miller.
Councillors opposed to Budget Chief Shelley Carroll’s motion:
Councillors Ashton, Del Grande, Ford, Holyday, Jenkins, Mammoliti, Minnan-Wong, Nunziata, Ootes, Parker, Saundercook, Shiner, Stintz
To find your Councillor and their contact information, click
Executive Committee Passes Motion
April 7, 2010
The very long and drawn out billboard tax for the arts initiative is finally coming to its final note.
On April 7 Executive Committee passed the 2010 budget along with a motion from Budget Chief Shelley Carroll requesting city staff to report on strategies to increase arts and culture funding beginning in 2011. Although the motion does not specifically direct billboard tax revenues to go to arts funding, it does recognize that the new revenue finally makes increased funding to the arts possible; and supports the 2003 Culture Plan funding objective of $25 per capita*.
1) The 2010 budget and Executive Committee motion must first pass through City Council on April 14 and 15.
2) Pressure from the arts community will be key to ensuring that Mayoralty and Councillor election campaigns include a commitment to $25 per capita arts funding.
Congratulations to the Beautiful City Alliance and others who worked so valiantly for so many years pushing and cajoling City Council to take a stand for the arts. The effort is paying off.
"Toronto Arts Council congratulates Executive Committee, and in particular Budget Chief Shelley Carroll, for today's ringing endorsement of Toronto's arts community. Everyone with Beautiful City Alliance who has worked so hard to put the arts at the forefront of the city agenda deserves a big vote of thanks."
Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director TAC
Councillor Shelley Carroll commented "Time is running out. Council must finish the work it started in 2003. The Creative City Culture Plan expands municipal support for arts and culture to the outer edges of our city limits and touches every child, youth and senior citizen if we succeed!"
Councillor Paula Fletcher's response: "It's a great day for the arts sector and Toronto's economy. The arts are a $96 billion industry that employs 86,000 people. In 2003, City Council adopted the Culture Plan and I would like to see us live up to our obligation to meet the goals laid out in that plan. Utilizing the new revenue stream created by the Billboard Tax to increase our investment in this key sector will provide organizations like the Toronto Arts Council with the resources they need to enhance their support of artists and arts activities in every discipline and every neighbourhood."
Early responses to the Executive Committee motion from Mayoralty candidates:
"I am 1000 percent behind the billboard tax going to art."
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Mayoral Candidate
"At the first debate in the Mayor's race, I called for funds generated by the billboard tax to be put to use enhancing our arts and culture sector and improving the public realm. It's good to see that the city is finally fulfilling the pledge they made to Beautiful City."
George Smitherman, Mayoral Candidate
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, Mayoralty Candidate: was the only dissenting vote against the Executive Committee motion, preferring that funds be directed to seniors.
* Today, city of Toronto spends less than $18 for each tax paying resident on arts, culture and heritage, including TAC. Other cities: Vancouver spends $26, Montreal $33, New York City, Chicago and San Francisco more than triple our investment in arts. Civic leaders, economists and politicians recommend that Toronto invest $25 per Torontonian per year to ensure that this city gains the economic and social advantage of a strong arts community. An increase to $25 would inject about $17 million in additional arts funding every year.
2010 City Budget Update
March 12, 2010
Toronto’s Budget Committee has made its recommendations for the 2010 Municipal budget: if approved at City Council on April 15, all community grants including Toronto Arts Council will be receiving a 2% increase.
From TAC’s perspective this Budget Committee recommendation represents a modest advance in a very complex budget year, and an excellent indication that the City Budget Chief and Councillors are working hard on behalf of the city’s artists.
We are expecting that a motion will be brought before Executive Committee in early April recommending that the city's arts funding match the growth in the community as called for in the recent Martin Prosperity Institute Report.
Thanks to all who made their voices heard through deputations, emails and phone calls. We are confident that we are well on the road to ensuring that future arts investment will correspond to the billboard tax intake.
City Councillors are listening. Moreover, Candidates for Mayor are listening.
Going forward, we will be calling on all our supporters to keep the pressure on to ensure these gains will be made good in next year's budget.
We will be asking Mayoralty candidates to endorse the twinning of billboard revenue to arts investment and increased access to arts for all Toronto residents.
New funds present a great opportunity for the arts
March 10, 2010
Mayor Miller’s announcement that new funds are available for the 2010 budget gives City Council a timely opportunity to address its priorities.
Until today, the 2010 City budget recommendation included $0 increase to Toronto Arts Council and other arts programs.
With today’s announcement, Budget Committee was presented with an incredible opportunity to let the city’s artists know they are being heard. Over the past few years, a large number of artists, particularly young artists, have worked in partnership with the city to help champion and deliver new revenue programs (including the billboard tax) while advocating increased funding for the arts.
At public deputations before Budget Committee last week, numerous artists and arts advocates made a strong case for arts increases recommending:
1) That Budget Committee honour its commitment to provide an annual 2% cost of living increase for the community partnership and investment program (including TAC) that was first instated in 2009;
2) That Budget Committee find a mechanism to ensure that the net billboard tax revenue be fully directed towards arts programming as soon as possible.
Click on links below for copies of deputations made by Claire Hopkinson, Ron Lalonde, Tracey Sandilands, Karen Tisch and others on behalf of the city’s arts community.
TAC Budget Deputations March 1 2010
Sabra Ripley Budget Deputation March 1 2010
Budget Committee members are:
Budget Chief: Shelley Carroll, 416-392-4038; firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Paul Ainslie, 416-392-4008; email@example.com
Councillor Maria Augimeri; 416-392-4021; firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor A.A. Heaps; 416-392-0213; email@example.com
Councillor Joe Mihevc; 416-392-0208; firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Gord Perks, 416-392-7919; email@example.com
Councillor Kyle Rae; 416-392-7903; firstname.lastname@example.org
2010 City Budget
March 3, 2010
The City's 2010 proposed operating budget was presented by Budget Chief Shelley Carroll on February 16. As it stands right now, grants funding, including arts grants, have been flat lined. TAC amongst approximately 28 other deputants for the arts appealed for increases. The support for the arts was notable, with 22 of the 35 deputants advocating support for culture on March 1st.
While the city continues to operate under significant financial pressure, City Councillors are also aware of the importance of the arts community's intervention in the billboard tax debate resulting in new revenues of $10 million annually.
New money, strong community support for increased arts funding, clear and documented evidence that Toronto's artists and organizations are significantly under funded - will all these add up to increased funding? We'll keep you posted. The final budget goes to City Council for approval on April 15.
Thank you for counting yourself in for Toronto arts!
January 25, 2010
Today, city of Toronto spends $16 for each tax paying resident on arts, culture and heritage, including TAC. Other cities: Vancouver spends $26, Montreal $33, New York City, Chicago and San Francisco more than triple our investment in arts.
Civic leaders, economists and politicians recommend that Toronto invest $25 per Torontonian per year to ensure that this city gains the economic and social advantage of a strong arts community.
In September 2009 Torontonians were asked to add their voice of support for $25 for the arts by completing a short survey.
Survey participants were asked to check one of the following:
- Yes, count me in. I support $25 per Torontonian for the arts
- No, artists don’t deserve financial support
- Other (please specify)
Survey Participants were asked if they take part in electoral process and have ever contacted an elected representative.
Billboard Tax: New Sign Regulation and Revenue Strategy for the City of Toronto
January 25, 2010
After days of debate and discussion the 'Billboard Tax' finally passed at Toronto City Council on December 7. Revenues expected from the tax are estimated at $10.4 million per year. This is a major victory for the Beautiful City Billboard Fee Alliance, and for all those in the city dismayed at the preponderance of unattractive billboards.
The focus will now move to Budget Committee where decisions will be made regarding allocation of the new funds. Both Mayor Miller and Budget Chief Shelley Carroll spoke in Council in support of more funding for the arts. They noted that this new revenue could help the City meet its Culture Plan objectives.
Congratulations to all who supported the implementation of the by-law by contacting Councillors and coming to City Hall.
Toronto needs the arts - and the arts need your voice.
Toronto Arts Council is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Throughout the last 35 years, Toronto’s artists and civic leaders have volunteered thousands of hours with TAC to promote the incredible artistic growth and development in this city. Today, in the country’s largest community of artists, TAC supports over 450 arts organizations and another 200 individual artists every year. And yet...
Toronto spends $16 for each resident on arts, culture and heritage, including TAC.
In comparison, Vancouver spends $26 and Montreal $33. New York City, Chicago and San Francisco more than triple Toronto’s investment in arts and culture.
Experts in prosperity and economic competitiveness recommend $25 per Torontonian to ensure that Toronto gains the economic and social advantage of a strong arts community. To add your voice of support for $25 for the arts...
A Case for Municipal Funding
City support for Toronto’s artists and arts organizations increases investment from other levels of government, increases employment in the arts sector, creates more performances, festivals, screenings, readings and exhibitions produced in Toronto and ensures greater arts accessibility for all ages and incomes in all Toronto neighbourhoods.
In order to meet its Culture Plan ten-year spending target as well as to satisfy the matched growth recommendation in the Martin Prosperity Institute Report (see PDF link below) Toronto Arts Council’s Board is requesting a city funding increase of 77% over five years.
Increased funding to TAC will result in five major outcomes:
- Increased employment of artists/arts workers
- Increased investment in Toronto from other funders & the private sector
- Increased innovation and creative output from Toronto’s arts community
- Increased access to space for artists to create and present work
- Increased access to arts programming for Torontonians of all ages and in all neighbourhoods as a result of more arts events, reduced ticket prices and more free programming
MPI Report Funding to Arts and Cultural Organizations by the City of Toronto, 1990-2008
See also: The Case for Municipal Arts Funding
Policy & Legislation Watch
Canadian Conference for the Arts: