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:
- 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