Arts in the Parks Funding Assured for 2019, Thanks to Success of 2018 Evening for the Arts
TORONTO, November 15, 2018 – “The arts are a unifier; they can bring people together across the city” said Mayor John Tory in one of his first public appearances since being re-elected as the mayor of Toronto. “I’m going to be as committed to [the arts] as I have been going forward…. I think this is the best city and the best country in the world, and the arts are a big part of that.” The remarks were made last night to a packed room of city builders and arts enthusiasts who joined Toronto Arts Foundation at the Evening for the Arts to raise funds for its city-wide initiative, Arts in the Parks. Over $600,000 was raised, surpassing the Foundation’s goal of $500,000. The funds will ensure that Arts in the Parks will continue in 2019.
Mayor John Tory’s presence at the Evening for the Arts signaled his continuing belief in the importance of the arts for the City of Toronto and his commitment to Arts in the Parks, an initiative that he championed from its inception.
Arts in the Parks was created in 2016 by Toronto Arts Foundation with the help of Mayor John Tory and the City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division, to increase access to the arts. The summer initiative brings free high-quality professional arts programming to parks outside of the downtown core, including North York, Etobicoke, East Toronto and Scarborough. In 2018, over 45 parks were animated with 280 events featuring dance, theatre, youth and community arts workshops, film screenings and more.
Guests at the Evening for the Arts enjoyed dynamic performances by Tony nominated musical theatre artist Louise Pitre and pianist Diane Leah, 13-member a cappella group Countermeasure, youth Afro-Caribbean dance organization Roots and Branches Dance and jazz group The Heavyweights Brass Band. The night was hosted by actors Hélène Joy of Murdoch Mysteries and Eric Peterson of Street Legal, both of whom are acclaimed supporters of the arts in Toronto.
“The Evening for the Arts is a unique event that brings cultural champions, developers, politicians, unions and artists together in our collective drive to make Toronto a better place,” said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Foundation. “By supporting Arts in the Parks, a program that encourages community-building and enjoyment of local parks and arts, our guests are helping to strengthen the city through the power of the arts.”
Other highlights from the event include a speech by three Arts in the Parks volunteers, who spoke of the impact of the program on their lives. “Being a volunteer this summer taught me about how diverse our city is and gave me a chance to witness different cultures through their art,” said Bilal Munir, Arts in the Parks Volunteer. In addition to the financial support offered by guests at the Evening for the Arts, the program relies on the energy of over 200 volunteers for its success. Guests at the Evening also enjoyed an interactive virtual reality experience that takes the viewer into a Toronto park for a performance, demonstrating the magic of these local events.
Funds raised last night will support programming in 2019, the fourth summer of Arts in the Parks. To learn more about Toronto Arts Foundation and Arts in the Parks, visit torontoartsfoundation.org or artsintheparksto.org
About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city through private sector investment.
For more information about the Evening for the Arts and Arts in the Parks, please contact Sarah Gladki, Communications Manager, Toronto Arts Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416-392-6802 x 217