What You Can Do
Advocate for public arts funding
Toronto Arts Council and the city's arts sector are directly affected by funding and policy decisions made by Toronto City Council each year. Participating in the city's political process can be interesting, informative and often extremely effective.
How to get your message heard
Advocating for change at the municipal level is not difficult and makes a difference. What follows are a few tips for getting your message heard at City Hall.
- Consistent messaging is extremely important in any advocacy campaign. If every voice from the arts sector is asking for the same thing, or a variation of the same thing, it will be more difficult to ignore. Don't allow political or bureaucratic leadership to respond that the sector doesn't know what it wants.
- Make sure the people you ask have the power to grant your request (or at least influence the result). For example, there is no point in asking a City Councillor to change federal legislation.
- Email your City Councillor: Ask your Board, volunteers, audiences and supporters to call, email or write their City Councillors. It is important that they contact the Councillor from their home, not work, address. This is because Councillors respond to voters, and you vote where you live. Not sure who your Councillor is? Find them here.
- Make a public deputation at City Hall. Although members of the public cannot speak at City Council sessions, they can request to speak to agenda items at Committee meetings. The Committees most often concerned with arts issues are Budget Committee and Economic Development Committee.. Committee information can be found here.
How to make a deputation
Wondering about the deputation process and how you can sign up to speak at City Hall? We’ve compiled a comprehensive page of tips to help you.
Tips on How to Make a Deputation.
What TAC is advocating for
TAC regularly advocates on behalf of the City’s artists and works to increase public awareness of the value of art and to educate civic leaders on effective arts policy.
Along with leading arts organizations in Toronto, in 2023/24, Toronto Arts Council is advocating the city to:
- Increase Toronto Arts Council funding by $2M annually for 5 years
- Increase Local Arts Service Organizations’ funding by $1.8M
- Increase accessible, affordable and sustainable spaces for artists to live and work
Access our most recent advocacy announcement here.
Tips for arts organizations
Demonstrating the value of public investment in arts and culture is a collective effort that benefits the sector as a whole. Here’s what we recommend:
- Build a relationship with your City Councillor to explain why it's essential to invest in arts and culture, and how this applies to your organization;
- Tell your audiences, members, donors, volunteers and social followers why we need public investment in arts and culture, and encourage them to make the case to the Mayor and their local Councillor;
- Update your website with content on the benefits of public investment in arts and culture;
- Develop key messages on public investment in arts and culture for your press releases and media activity.
Advocacy resources from our affiliate
Our affiliate Toronto Arts Foundation has developed several resources – Toronto Arts Facts and Toronto Arts Stats – to show the impact of the arts on Toronto and its residents.
Access the resources here.
TAC’s pandemic response
Throughout the pandemic Toronto Arts Council has responded quickly and effectively, offering artists new funding opportunities while expediting support to the city’s arts organizations.
Learn more about our COVID response here.
A lesson in advocacy: Increases in arts funding 2001 - 2019
Toronto artists, arts supporters and residents developed the case for increased municipal support for the arts and moved it forward consistently and repeatedly beginning in 2001. Visit this simplified timeline for an overview of the activities and successes from 2001-2019.