20,000 Torontonians Petition City Council to Stop Cuts to Arts

November 30, 2011 - Tuesday morning, November 28th, Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby (Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre) presented the Friends of the Arts Petition to City Council, featuring 20,000 signatures representing residents living in every ward of Toronto.

 The petition calls on all Toronto Councillors to:

  • Meet the City's commitments to the Creative Capital Gains Initiative to make Toronto a leader in arts and culture.
  • Maintain current City funding to arts and culture: protect investment in Toronto Arts Council, Toronto’s 475 arts organizations and hundreds of local artists.

Tabled yesterday, the City Budget outlines 10% across the board cuts cut to arts grants plus major service changes to other cultural programs and events. Cutting the arts to this degree will have a negative economic and social impact on Toronto and will cause significant hardship to artists and arts organizations. Moreover, the city achieves a huge return on its relatively small arts investment and Toronto’s arts scene is a big part of what makes Toronto a great place to live, work and visit. Reductions to arts granting programs are in direct conflict with the goals outlined in Toronto's Creative Capital Gains report that was unanimously approved by City Council just months ago. 

A few of the reasons Toronto residents signed the petition:

  • Arts and culture are essential to Toronto’s economy, generating $9 billion every year.
  • Arts and culture create jobs. 130,000 people work in the sector – and many more depend on related businesses, including those in hospitality and tourism.
  • Torontonians care about the arts. In 2010, there were 20 million visits from every corner of Toronto to city-supported arts events.
  • Every dollar Toronto invests in arts organizations attracts $17 more from private and public sources. Arts and culture funding has a great return on investment.
  • Great art and artists take years to achieve commercial success; today’s funding enables tomorrow’s art.
  • Artists flock to cities that support them – yet Toronto invests less in the arts than other major cities; City Council has been working to change that, and it must stay the course.

The organizing committee of Friends of the Arts is a working group of arts advocates from across the City of Toronto. Friends of the Arts would like to thank Councillor Mike Layton for his leadership and support of the petition and Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby for making the presentation. 

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For more information, please contact Susan Wright 416-392-6802 x211