8:30 a.m., Feb. 11)
council approves action plan for the arts
By Fred Sherwin
city's arts and culture community can look forward to
sustainable funding for the foreseeable future after council
approved a renewed action plan for the arts on Wednesday,
which calls for a $5 million increase in base funding
to be spread out over the next six years.
plan is the culmination of a two-year consultation
processes involving more than 185 arts, culture and heritage
organizations including members of the city's First Nation
and métis communities..
the various initiatives contained in the plan are:
establishing a steering committee and working toward developing
a downtown "mid-sized" concert hall;.
a renewed municipal poet laureate program, through which
a poet would be selected to promote literary arts to residents
and serve as the city's literary ambassador;
developing "cultural and creative districts and clusters"
in various neighbourhoods and holding pilot projects within
having the city proactively seek designation of heritage
buildings and districts under the Ontario Heritage Act,
and establishing a city bylaw that enforces preservation
of heritage buildings and districts;
a pilot project to develop the city's first municipal
affordable "artist live-work scenario" that
would include a focus on aging artists;
holding a cultural summit every other year to bring together
"local and national cultural players".
Mayor Jim Watson hailed the plan as being representative
of the tremendous importance city council places on the
arts, culture and heritage community.
culture and heritage are about remembering where we come
from, celebrating who we are today and dreaming about
what we can be tomorrow, said Mayor Watson. These
will continue to be the keys to our success, especially
as we prepare to celebrate Canadas 150th birthday
enthusiasm was shared by local arts groups which have
been waiting for a new plan ever since the former Arts
Investment Strategy and Festivals Sustainablity Plan expired
as cohesive and comprehensive of a document as you're
ever going to find," said Catherine O'Grady, who
chairs the citizen advisory committee on arts, heritage
plan calls for a total investment of $5 million in arts
and culture over the next six years, $2 million of which
will be added to the base funding of arts, heritage and
culture organizations. Another $1.5 million will be spent
on new facilities including minor retrofits and structural
restoration at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum.
Funding for a new visitors centre and a collections storage
facility is also contained in the plan for 2018.
will be added to the base funding for existing cultural
facilities and remaining funds will be spent in a number
of areas including marketing, the appointment of a poet
laureate, and a biennial cultural summit.
plan represents a major reaffirmation of the importance
of arts to the city, both culturally and economically.
It wasn't that long that arts and culture was the first
place staff would look to make cuts. Back in 2008, staff
made a recommendation to cut arts funding by $4.1 million.
Council ended up rejecting the recommendation, but the
debate that ensued led to the process that resulted in
the renewed action plan..
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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