COVID-19

Impact of COVID-19 on Toronto's Non-Profit Arts Sector

A dancer stretches her arms out
Anandam Dance Theatre. Dancer Nithya Garg in Ephemeral Artifacts, part of Nuit Blanche Scarborough. Choreographed by Brandy Leary. Photo by Drew Berry (2019)

On March 17, 2020 the Government of Ontario declared a state of public emergency to protect the public from COVID-19. Toronto’s 9-billion-dollar culture sector quickly complied with Toronto Public Health’s requirements to practise social distancing. The impact of the closures on Toronto’s not for profit arts sector threatens the very sustainability of Toronto’s cultural infrastructure by highlighting the fragility of the eco system and exacerbating long standing inequities.

Arts production and presentation are important engines of Toronto’s and Canada’s economy:

  • 90% of Torontonians believe that the arts make Toronto a better place to live
  • Toronto is home to twice as many artists as any other Canadian city
  • Costs of arts production are much higher in Toronto (high costs of space)
  • With 51% of the population identifying as BIPOC, Toronto is the nucleus of Canada’s cultural diversity
  • Toronto’s arts organizations will be instrumental in rebuilding consumer confidence and will fuel the region’s economic recovery

Toronto’s non-profit art sector is nationally significant.  With its population at 8% of the country Toronto has:

  • 29% national non-profit arts ticket sales
  • 40% national private sector revenue
  • 29% national non-profit arts revenues and expenses
  • 38% national audiences
  • 25% national artists
  • 30% national volunteers

Anticipated cumulative impact of COVID-19 cancellations for non-profit arts in Toronto to the end of 2020:

  • 25,000 public performances cancelled/postponed
  • $183 million lost ticket sales
  • $65 million  required for facility operating costs with no offsetting revenue
  • 20 million fewer audience members
  • $145 million lost artist and production salaries/fees
  • All figures based on financial data in CADAC (Canadian Arts Data /Données sur les arts au Canada

Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is committed to providing accurate and up to date information for the arts community throughout the COVID-19 emergency response period. TAC understands that the outbreak of COVID-19 may present extraordinary challenges for artists and arts organizations in Toronto. The resources and TAC announcements compiled on this page may be of interest to Toronto's arts community at large. 

As the situation is frequently changing, please refer back here for regular updates. Browse through the pages in this section to find information specific to your needs. 
If you have received a grant from Toronto Arts Council, and have any questions or concerns about planned activities or programming that may be affected by COVID-19, please contact your Program Manager ✹

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During these unprecedented times, Toronto Arts Council will be sending regular bulletins to our mailing list about COVID-19 updates, the steps we’re taking to help the Toronto arts community, what you can do to help, and more.

COMMUNITY WEBSITES AND APPS WITH COMPREHENSIVE RESOURCES

Artscape: Navigating COVID-19: Resources for Creatives and Creative Entrepreneurs
A comprehensive list of financial relief and supports for creatives and creative entrepreneurs

CityShare/Canada
A real-time crowdsourced platform that houses resources, tools and stories on how city builders and residents are responsing to COVID-19

COVID-19 Resources Toronto (App)
A collaborative effort by Torontonians to help the city through these difficult times. Includes: ways to help, how to get the assistance you need, fun online activities (art interventions, educational, wellness and exercise classes), and more