November 8, 2013 was the 4th Arts Day at the City: an annual initiative led by TAPA that brings together members of the arts community at City Hall to champion our issues with Councillors. A tremendous amount of hard work, enthusiasm, and passion was put into this project by the organizers, and by people like you who care about the strength of our arts community. Thank you.
With all that’s going on at City Hall right now, it’s important that we share the good news happening in Toronto civic life. Your efforts have paid off!
This year, a record 29 Councillors took meetings with us, either on Arts Day or in the days preceding / following it.
· Councillors committed to keeping up with the business the City has with its citizens
· There was a lot to celebrate – like Council’s unanimous commitment to get our municipal arts funding up to $25 per capita by 2017
· There was a lot to report – including incredible growth in arts activities in wards all over the city (you can read the full Arts Day message here)
· Social media had real impact in spreading awareness of our cause, with 279 supporters contributing 629 tweets which had an estimated reach of over 400,000 Twitter accounts
· And we had a clear message for Council: Commit to the second phase of funding promised for the 2014 budget
The response: it’s happening. An increase in funding is scheduled to be part of the 2014 budget (even budget chief Frank Di Giorgio said so!).
This is a huge victory for Toronto’s arts community. It’s an encouraging development in our relationship with municipal government. And it’s a sign of how strong Toronto’s arts community is. This kind of progress happens because:
· Of your participation and civic engagement
· Of critics within our community who have challenged how we advocate for our interests time and again, demanding we step up our collective game
· Organizations like TAPA, TAC/F, Arts Etobicoke, Beautiful City, BfTA, East End Arts, Lakeshore Arts, North York Arts, Scarborough Arts, and Urban Arts rally for events like Arts Day
· Our colleagues at the provincial and national levels are working hard to do the same.
· Of grassroots activity like Theatre Passe Muraille’s ingenious EA Nights (EA’s of city councillors), which brings dozens of City staffers out to the theatre
· People like you write to your government representatives and tell them what’s important to voters!
It’s easy to feel frustrated over the state of politics in Toronto, but remember: progress is possible regardless of how big the distractions are – we can see it happening right now. It’s worth celebrating. And it’s worth asking: what can we do next?
So please keep it up! Remember, This is Just the Beginning! 2014 is an election year, and ArtsVote will definitely be a part of it. We hope you will stay involved, and that you will help us continue to champion the things that make Toronto a great place to live, work, play and visit.