Mayor Ford, on opening the Executive Committee meeting, said: “This budget includes $22.5 million over the next few years in new funding for the arts. This money should be used to make Toronto an even more attractive place to live and to invest and create jobs. It should also help engage young people across the City…”
The effect of the arts funding motion is to increase direct municipal arts support to $25 per capita by 2016. This financial target has been in place since 2003 and has long been advocated by Toronto Arts Council and the arts sector as a whole. The arts funding plan proposes using $22.5 million Billboard Tax revenues, already accumulated in a reserve, as a cushion over the next three years to establish a sustainable stream of city funding over the long term.
Councillor Crawford has said: "I am very pleased that Toronto's Executive Committee passed my motion to support a plan to put real dollars into a sustainable, ongoing and accountable increase to arts funding without impacting the 2013 budget. I congratulate all the hard work by the passionate, dedicated people who have waited patiently for this increase in arts funding to reach $25 per capita."
“We at Toronto Arts Council are delighted that City Council and staff are implementing a plan to reach the $25 per capita goal by 2016”, said Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director of TAC. “We understand that a majority of the new funds will be directed to arts grants, which is important given that grant dollars reach artists and arts organization quickly. Grants leverage additional resources and funds from ticket sales, private donations and other government funders greatly increasing their impact on the City.”
The road to successfully meeting this objective has been long and success is attributable to many individuals and groups:
Young artists and activists who created the Beautiful City billboard fee campaign, successfully advocating for a billboard tax with revenues to be directed to arts support.
Many Councillors from all sides of Council chambers who have led the charge for increasing arts support. Of particular note are Gary Crawford who gathered Council support for today’s motion; Councillor Michael Thompson who chaired the Creative Capital Gains report, Councillor Shelley Carroll who worked to ensure the passage of the billboard tax itself. Add to this all of TAC’s Councillor Board members who have worked hard over the years to keep arts funding on the agenda.
Finally, city staff at Economic Development and culture who have dedicated their efforts to making sure that Toronto’s Culture plans reflect the creativity and ambitions of the city.
Toronto Arts Council’s Board has approved a strategic vision which outlines directions for new spending. In accordance with its approved strategic plan, Toronto Arts Council will work with City Culture to ensure that new funding addresses:
- the decade long identified need for increased investment to existing arts organizations
- the desire to provide youth, particularly those from diverse and suburban communities, with avenues for expression
- the pent up demand from emerging artists and arts organizations from underserved neighbourhoods across the city
View motion passed at City Hall on January 10, 2013 here.