Get involved with ArtsVote and help us show Toronto’s next roster of municipal leaders that arts and culture policy matters to Torontonians.
- Tell Toronto municipal candidates why you ArtsVote! Learn more at My ArtsVote.
- Share your support for ArtsVote on Facebook and Twitter – hashtags: #TOpoli #artsvoteyyz
- Submit your thoughts for the ArtsVote blog – email info [at] artsvote.ca to find out how
- Register to vote, then have your say! Learn how you can Get Voting.
- Keep the pressure on: after election day, email or write to your councillor and mayor so that they know the arts community is counting on their leadership at City Hall
ARTSVOTE 2014 KEY ISSUES
We’re immensely proud of what Toronto’s arts and culture sector has accomplished, and are excited for the vibrant future of our community. There are many challenges – and even more opportunities – ahead for artists, culture sector workers, and their supporters. We’re focussed on four key issues. Toronto’s arts and culture community needs:
- Arts and Culture Champions (learn more)
- Affordable Spaces to Live, Work, and Play (learn more)
- Sustainable Funding and Growth in Investment (learn more)
- A Committed Partner – in Every Neighbourhood (learn more)
How will Toronto’s future municipal leaders contribute to these issues?
Progress is easy when we’re all working together toward something we all believe in. The ArtsVote community cares about mobilizing our collective talents, ideas, and passions for the benefit of Torontonians – and it’s not hard to see how much energy and enthusiasm the people of Toronto have for arts and culture. You can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and feel it in parks, schools, churches, community centres, alleyways, markets, sidewalks, and all kinds of other spaces around our city. So where do our municipal candidates fit into this picture? Do they believe they have a role to play in growing audiences for the arts, and encouraging cultural participation?
How will the City champion arts and culture as a core feature of Toronto’s global brand? How will the City make connections between the cultural sector, the private sector, and the broader community?
The arts and culture community thrives on the free exchange of ideas, and through people connecting with one another across all kinds of barriers (real and imagined). How will candidates help the arts and culture organizations reach out to other members of the sector, in Canada and elsewhere? How will the City facilitate cultural exchange by making it possible to bring experts and innovators to Toronto, and how will they help our arts and culture entrepreneurs spread their ideas elsewhere? Some of the barriers that the cultural community faces aren’t solely municipal issues. How will the City of Toronto work with other levels of government to address these challenges, including foreign worker restrictions, border fees, and utility costs?
The arts cannot thrive without an audience. How will candidates attract international attention to our creative capital strengths? Where do candidates stand on marketing and promoting Toronto’s great cultural assets? How will candidates champion arts and culture in Toronto? How do candidates propose we engage – or re-engage – residents and visitors with all that Toronto has to offer?
The question of space touches all aspects of life: from where we live to where we work, to how we get around, to where and how we choose to spend our time. Where do candidates stand on infrastructure investments for cultural spaces across the City – specifically, spaces that are created primarily for artistic use, as opposed to multi-use community spaces? Will Toronto build more infrastructure that puts the arts first? And, knowing there is only so much space downtown for new cultural development, how will candidates develop cultural hubs across the entire City?
It’s important that Torontonians of all ages can share in our city’s complex history. How will candidates invest in and protect Toronto’s historical and heritage building – spaces that are often run by arts groups with little funding? Torontonians are also working together to craft our city’s future. How will candidates support the development of community spaces that sustain new media and non-traditional arts, in addition to traditional forms?
Since arts activities often lead to gentrification, how will candidates use planning processes to protect affordable spaces for artists and arts businesses downtown? Generally, Toronto’s politicians are recognizing that it is important to have a vibrant arts and culture community in the city. Many artists sacrifice economic security to offer their creativity to the broader community. What will candidates do to ensure those people stay – and thrive – in this city, and continue to create, design, and inspire for the benefit of all Torontonians?
Municipal funding for arts and culture programs is incredibly important, and not just because it acts as a stepping stone toward other revenue sources. Municipal funding is a direct investment in job creation – a major concern for Torontonians, particularly young workers. It’s also an investment in quality of life: each year, millions of people come together to share, think, feel, create, and enjoy themselves at city-funded events and programs. With that in mind, where do candidates stand on grant funding for arts and culture projects? How will funds be made available for game-changing innovation projects? And, what will be done to allow funders like the Toronto Arts Council to operate in, and support, the cultural sector?
In 2003, the City of Toronto committed to raising its investment in arts grants to $25 per capita. We’re currently on track to hit that target in 2017 – 14 years later. Where do candidates stand on the City’s current commitment to a $25 per capita investment level for arts grants? Is $25 per capita enough? And if not, what will they do to make things better?
Arts and culture require adequate levels of municipal investment that foster long-term stability, and ensure multi-year activities are sustainable. How will the City’s investment levels recognize this, and anticipate the need for annual increases? How will candidates ensure the City of Toronto’s investment in arts and culture is on par with – or exceeding – comparable municipalities in Canada and internationally? Current wisdom says the sector needs to plan for its future; do candidates support a stable, multi-year funding approach in line with arts organizations’ capacity to plan strategically?
How can the City make private / public partnerships more attractive in the arts and encourage private sector support for cultural initiatives? Where do candidates stand on Sector 37 funding, and what other opportunities like this exist?
How do candidates feel about the Billboard Tax, or other designated funding sources for the arts? How can we ensure sustainable access to funding for the City’s arts and culture portfolio?
Arts and culture can make a positive contribution to all kinds of programs and strategies that are central to life in Toronto. How will candidates assist cultural organizations develop collaborative partnerships with such organizations as Tourism Toronto, the Toronto District School Board, the Community Services Partnership (PSP), and the Community Funding Investment Program (CFIP), so that arts and culture can be integrated into issues of planning, parks, and public safety? How will candidates direct key collaborators at the City – including Transportation Services and the Public Realm Office – to ensure cultural facilities are part of tourism marketing materials as well as the City’s pedestrian way-finding strategy, road signage, and digital marketing systems? What will candidates do to make sure all Torontonians know about, and can access, the wealth of culture in this city?
No one likes red tape – especially when it keeps people from having fun and connecting with other members of their community. How can the City give arts and culture workers better access to space, resources, and permits for events?
The beauty of this city is its neighbourhoods, made up of an incredible diversity of people, spaces, and environments. How can the City facilitate the development of cultural activity across the city, in all neighbourhoods, for all people? How can candidates foster connections with community stakeholders that will benefit an arts organization across their own wards, and from one ward to another? How do candidates suggest we provide access for all Torontonians to our varied cultural programs and contribute to city-wide community engagement?
How do candidates think that Toronto’s vibrant arts and culture sector can be leveraged by government to make Toronto a better place?
Finally, it’s important to recognize that arts and culture policy isn’t just a topic for election years. Our community has an immense amount of creativity, fun, and inspiration to offer Torontonians all year round. How can the City ensure the future of Toronto’s culture sector isn’t vulnerable to political whims? How will candidates make sure that the strong, vibrant Toronto arts and culture community outlives their term in office?
These four key priorities will be the main focus of our candidate questionnaire, which will be made available to the public as part of the ArtsVote Report Card. We expect the questions above will evolve as more members of the ArtsVote community make their voices heard. Stay tuned! Exciting new ideas are on their way…