Toronto, September 8, 2017 – Enthusiastic applause broke out at last week’s surprise announcement by Premier Kathleen Wynne and Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport that the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) will receive a funding increase to its current base of $60 million bringing it to $80 milllion over four years by 2020-21. The $50 million increase will roll out accordingly: $5 million in 2017-18, $10 million in 2018-19, $15 million in 2019-20 and $20 million in 2020-21.
Over the next four years, this added investment to OAC programs will ensure that Ontarians have increased access to arts activity throughout the province and ensure that they see themselves represented in the arts.
Operating Funding to Arts Organizations
Two-thirds of the increased granting budget will be used to augment operating grants to arts organizations – the backbone of our province’s arts and culture infrastructure. These arts organizations showcase creation, provide arts experiences that enrich the lives of their communities and offer employment to artists and arts professionals. The funding will also support emerging organizations, often from under-represented communities, and will help them strengthen their organizational and artistic development. OAC operating grants provide continuity and stability and allow organizations to take appropriate creative risks that are part of their artistic evolution.
Project Funding to Individuals, Collectives and Organizations
One third of the granting budget will go to project grants for individual artists and arts groups who are the heart of the arts and culture sector. The OAC project grants fuel creativity and innovation – the crucial first link in the “creative chain” that drives the economic impact of the arts and culture sector. Ontario’s successful cultural industries are built on the work of creators and their economic impact would not exist without the kinds of artistic creation, production and professional development which are made possible by OAC project grants.
The OAC will invest more in existing, high-impact programs that:
- have a high number of applicants, but a low number of funded projects (due to budget constraints);
- have demonstrated growth in demand;
- make a strong contribution to OAC’s six priority groups (Indigenous artists, Francophone artists, artists of colour, new generation artists, Deaf artists and artists with disabilities, and artists from regions outside of Toronto); and
- directly support the goals of OAC’s strategic plan, Vital Arts and Public Value, and the Government of Ontario’s Culture Strategy.
The new funding will allow artists and arts organizations to present their work nationally and internationally, building new markets and showcasing Ontario to the world.
Finally, this public investment in the arts will also support increased opportunities for children, youth, recent immigrants, and Ontario’s Indigenous and diverse communities, to participate in arts education and community arts engagement activities.