For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 30th 2014
COUNCIL INCREASES ARTS SPENDING BY $10.5 MILLION ANNUALLY
// Major milestone passed: with $6M invested in 2013 and, $4.5M added in 2014, the same amount collected by the billboard levy is now going to art. Council follows through on commitment and locks in 4 year phase-in for reaching $25 per-capita. //
“Budget Committee and Council have committed to reaching $25 per-capita in arts investment by 2017. We have backed this four year commitment with 10.5 million dollars real money for 2014. This is the same amount of revenue coming in annually from the billboard levy. My colleagues from across the spectrum have come together to support this critical step forward. This new investment will allow us to build a stronger, more economically vibrant city: a city that celebrates the talent that exists in every ward and will project our best onto the world stage.”
– Councillor Gary Crawford, Ward 36 – Scarborough South West
“We have been working with the arts community for years to invest in arts and culture in this City. I am pleased that their patience and relentless advocacy is finally paying off in the form of a $10.5M investment this year, I look forward to seeing the fantastic work of young, diverse artists from all parts of the city working together, shaping our public spaces and showing that true voice of Toronto. To me that is a Beautiful City”
With the same amount collected annually by the billboard levy now going to art in Toronto, a major milestone has been reached in the 13 year push to create a levy on billboards and invest these funds in arts. The billboard tax was first proposed by a diverse alliance of arts organizations titled BeautifulCity.ca in 2001. The coalition rallied around the idea of diversifying access to expression in public space and supports the following use of the funds:
1. Celebrating diverse voices and activating art programs across Toronto.
2. Creating and building ownership of vibrant and healthy public spaces.
3. Supporting Toronto’s living and practicing artists.
4. Building the capacity of young adults, youth and children.
In addition, the alliance recommends that arms-length funding processes such as the TAC be used wherever possible and that ongoing vigilance is applied in ensuring the Signs Unit at the City is fully funded and able to enforce the sign bylaw.
For more on the core values and funding recommendations of BeautifulCity please see: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/BC_GuidingValues.pdf . To see Crawford’s motion that passed council, please view: http://tinyurl.com/2014ArtBudget . For the slideshow that accompanied BeautifulCity.ca’s deputation to Budget Committee, please view: http://tinyurl.com/BeautifulCitySlideshow