Posts tagged ‘Ontario Arts Council’

April 13, 2012

Cook a Meal. Do Laundry. Experience Art.

A wonderfully thought-provoking plenary session at APASO yesterday. Just as I thought. Simon Brault is so – interesting, and smart and makes you think and want to talk to other people about what you’ve learned and are thinking about.

Discussion around arts education. The lack of it. The lack of importance of art in everyday life. Cultural omnivores. Folks for whom art just does not register.

Lack of formal arts education. In schools. Which got me thinking.

Why can’t art be taught as a life skill? The point I made yesterday at the session was that we go after the students, the schools, we bring kids in by the busload for student matinees and talkbacks. Our numbers are great – we reached 5000 students this year, and the sponsor got some serious name recognition (thank you to the sponsor for allowing this to happen. Seriously, We couldn’t afford to do this otherwise.)

Perhaps some are affected by the work they saw, past having to answer a question from the Outreach and Education Coordinator. Perhaps not.

What have we taught them about experiencing art? What have they learned?

I think in many cases they haven’t been taught about the art experience, they’ve been taught how to go on a field trip for the afternoon.

How many are coming back of their own accord? I don’t know. And it occurred to me we do not teach experiencing art as a life skill. We teach children how to tie shoelaces, cook dinner, fold the laundry (I’ve taught my fairy godchildren how to hail a cab – city girl life skill).

We teach adolescents how to fill out college applications and try out for football or debate team or just how to get themselves to the mall so we don’t have to drive them.

And adults learn all their lives, whether it’s a excel workshop for your business, or how to find a reputable plumber or why exactly your child is making that ungodly racket.

What can we teach people? How can we give them access to our work?

Have we taught them what they need to know to experience and appreciate art of their own accord? That they can do this any time, of their own accord, but it takes a bit more work to find out what’s going on? (This is where the internet access generation comes in – it’s all on the internet).

What have we taught them?

Did we explain that PWYC means pay-what-you-can and you can go to that show and pay a toonie or a twenty and see the play? And those performances usually sell out so best get there early?

Have we taught them that some shows have rush seats for as little as $10? What does “rush seat” mean anyway?

That out of respect to the other audience members and the actors you turn off your phone, take off your hat if it’s in the way and try not to talk to your companion during the show? (We won’t get into hard candy. It seems nobody can be taught not to open them during the show).

Do they know about TO TIX and HIPTIX and that a lot of museums are by donation?

Have we taught them that we really do want them there, of their own accord, outside of the Wednesday 1:30 matinee?

Much more to think about.

(Yes I bought Simon’s book. It’s awesome and he autographed it for me. In FRENCH.)

ETA: you type too fast you get some nasty typos. Apologies.

March 30, 2012

Federal and Provincial Budgets – What do they mean for the arts?


In my inbox from the Toronto Arts Foundation.


Federal and Provincial Budgets – What do they mean for the arts?
Artists and arts organizations will be relieved to learn that the federal and provincial governments have both protected the arts councils from cuts to their granting programs.  The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Trillium Foundation will not sustain budget cuts despite broad based reductions in other areas.
The full impact of the government budgets will be determined over the next few months.  It is clear that reduced investment in the culture sector will have a ripple effect   Major items are listed below:

2012 Federal Budget Arts Highlights:

There will be no cuts to the Canada Council for the Arts.

The CBC has been cut by 10% ($115 million) over three years.

The Department of Canadian Heritage’s operating base of $2.8 billion has been cut by 6.9%.

In addition to the Canada Council, the National Gallery and national museums will not face budget cuts.

Telefilm’s budget is being cut by $10.6 million and the National Film Board is being cut by $6.7 million.

2012 Provincial Budget Arts Highlights:

There will be no cuts to the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Luminato’s funding from the Ontario government will be cut by $1.5 million for 2012-13 and $2 million for 2013-14

The operating budgets of Ontario’s Cultural Agencies including the AGO, ROM and McMichael Canadian Arts Collection will be cut by 1% for 2012-13 and an additional 1% for 2013-14 and thereafter.

Cultural industry Tax Credits will be maintained.

For additional information contact: Susan Wright 416-392-6802 x 211



March 18, 2012

Sunday Roundup – March 18

Protests and readings and fundraisers and social media plans and new and current clients make for a busy week.


A Double PSA TuesdayMichael Healey‘s Proud receives its first reading as part of a fundraiser for Passe Muraille on Monday March 19th at 730 pm

Great Grandmothers and the Internet – modern words and a very brief opinion on the Kony 2012 – thing. Ugandan government has created a response video – I wonder if it will go viral too.

We Do Not Protest Enough, Methinks – about the Vancouver Playhouse.This is when I started wondering what the folks I know in Vancouver are thinking doing and wondering.

We Doth Protest and Answer Questions – some great responses in to my cultural ponderings.

Tomorrow – the full post of questions and answers and links and blog posts on the Vancouver cultural concept from the folks who live and breathe its cultural air – some optimistic, some sad, some wondering, all thoughtful. Thank you so much to those who responded and shared information.

And Sunday is the day for Op-Ed pieces – here’s one from the Star and Matthew Jocelyn, artistic and general director of Canadian Stage.

Entire performing arts industry is to blame for the demise of the Vancouver Playhouse

Along the lines of this week – a really interesting article from HowlRound – The Importance of Beginning: the Changing Relationship of Artists, Organizations, and Communities . Give it a read – it’s the Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day, and you’re probably enjoying the couch enough to stay put for a bit.

October 16, 2011

Sunday Roundup – October 16

There’s been something big and good almost every day this week. Just sayin’.

New webpage went up – Grants+Things with links to start you off in finding funding, and links to grants I can help you with.

Buy A Theatre task force and hopefully solutions for the three downtown theatres the city is looking to sell.

Your Passion, Your Vision – a great day at Entrepreneuse School, where visions became clearer and articulate.

Nearly Everyone Has Taken a Dance break at Least Once  – finding on how communities engage with the Arts courtesy the Ontario Arts Council .

Occupy Toronto began yesterday – two of my favourite people were there and took some amazing pictures – I have permission to post them all here and will do that tomorrow but here’s one in the meantime. Photo by Colette Stevenson.


October 14, 2011

Nearly Everyone Has Taken a Dance break at Least Once

I’m vindicated. Dance breaks are an important part of the work I do – when it all gets to be too much, too complicated or too silly, you must dance it out. And as it turns out, I don’t personally know everyone who does it.

Why is this post-worthy? Because I was at the Ontario Arts Council launch of the Ontario Arts Engagement Study – a commissioned report that reveals signficant implications for arts organizations seeking to build audience development and engagement. A lot of information, a lot to digest. Some highlights from the press release:

Ontarians place a high value on live arts experiences    While media-based participation is more widespread, Ontarians attach a relatively higher level of importance to attending live events such as visiting art museums and attending plays.  For example, among Ontarians who reported visiting an art museum or art gallery at least once in the past year, 80 per cent described this activity as being very important to them.

Online participation is a central aspect of the arts participation of younger adults.  For example, 75 per cent of Ontarians age 18 to 34 download music at least once a year or more.  In addition, Ontarians ages 18 to 34 are twice as likely to be engaged in personal practice activities, such as playing a musical instrument, as those over 65.

Room to grow The results suggest that opportunities exist for increasing the engagement among those who are interested but participate infrequently in the arts.  In most types of activities, approximately 20 per cent of Ontarians account for about half of the engagement.

Click here to access the Summary and the full WolfBrown report.

A worthwhile afternoon, with lots of things to ponder. Thanks, OAC. Take a peek, click a link, read it over and do some thinking about his these finding affect the business of your art. In the meantime – dance break. This will get you started. And you should absolutely do the guitar solo.

September 15, 2011

BftA/TAF Press Conference


I attended the Toronto Arts Foundation/Business for the Arts press conference today at Roy Thomson Hall.  Heather Bellingham of Mooney on Theatre has already posted an excellent article which you can read here.

In case you didn’t know already, we surpassed 10,000 signatures on the Friends of the Arts Petition. Keep forwarding, keep signing – it’s not over yet.

You should also take a wander over to the Toronto Arts Foundation website – specifically the advocacy section to find out what’s being done and what’s doing, and what you can do.

I’m not so good with the live tweeting, but I did my best under @sueedworthy using #artsupporter.  So here are some tweets for you to enjoy.



September 1, 2011

PSA #5 – a little learning, a little donating, a little being part of something

PSA today – things keep popping into my inbox so here they are in a batch:

Diversecity – The Greater Toronto Leadership Project is recruiting new members – here’s how to apply.

The Ontario Arts Council is holding an info session Info Session for Black/African-Canadian Visual Artists & Craft Artists – here’s the Facebook page for more info.

Harbourfront Centre is accepting applications for World Stage Embassy members.

New Harlem Productions is traveling to Uganda for the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts in September. One of our community partner organizations in Uganda has requested used tents and sleeping bags, which NHP will be able to take over to them. If you have anything that you are ready to part with, please contact Sandra at

Someone has taken all the data from the City Services Review and turned into something interesting and understandable to look at and learn from. Wander over to torontoist to take a look-see.

Finally, a little bit of learning for a Thursday – 12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a Blog Post.


May 31, 2011

Art and Potholes

Good morning all,

Some of you may know that last year I was extremely active with a group of volunteers known as Artsvote. We spent over a year working together to educate artists and arts workers on the importance of their vote, created a report card grading all incumbents and challengers on their art-friendliness, and hosted a wildly successful Arts Debate (I really would hazard a guess that ours was the best attended debate in town). The election happened, there’s a new Mayor, some new Councillors, and although we thought our work would end the day after the election – it has not. We continue to update artists and arts workers on the happenings in our fair city that will directly affect them. And by them, I’m pretty sure I mean YOU – yes, you reading this.

So a couple of things:

As I’ve mentioned, I will be heading to on of the City’s roundtable discussions for the Toronto City Services review. If there are still spots available and you can make it, for the love of art – register and go. Why? Because according to the registration letter I received:

This roundtable session is very different than a town hall meeting or a deputation to Council Committee. The issues are complex and our goal is to encourage learning and discussion as well as collect input from all participants.These roundtable discussions will give you the opportunity to learn about City services and explore issues with others from across the City.  Facilitators will be at each table to support the discussion, and make sure participants have a chance to speak and ask questions on the issues they care about.

All I will say is that I am fairly sure those who are angry about taxes, potholes, garbage collection and road congestion will be there. Those are not the only things our city is about. Please ask yourself, “Is my art less important than a pothole?” and act on your answer accordingly.

ETA: Speaking of Art and Potholes, Colette Stevenson just tuned me into this incredibly cool project. Thanks for the tip!

If there are no spots left, then please fill out the survey you’ve seen mentioned around Facebook, Twitter and the interweb. It is long, it is somewhat cumbersome, but please raise your voice. Run your own session if need be. Remember, the Creative Capital Gains report was accepted unanimously. What we do is important. Remember and remind.

Along these lines I have an email in my inbox from C2C that I thought I would share with you.
Calling all community activists! Organizers meeting to defend City Programs: June 9, 1pm at the 519
Dear Friends,
As we speak, Toronto City Council is making plans to balance a huge operating deficit in the 2012 budget.  Apparently, everything is under review, all city services are on the line, and decisions are being made very quickly about the future of our city and what programs and services will be cut.   The impact of these cuts will be felt by all Torontonians for years to come.
With no time to waste, we have started a campaign that calls on local residents like you to demonstrate your Commitment to Community (C2C).  Sign on as a member of the C2C campaign to join your fellow community leaders and neighbours to protect the community services that make your city a healthy, safe and vibrant place to live. Get involved as the C2C campaign grows by attending our upcoming action-oriented organizing meeting:
The Commitment to Community Campaign Presents:  An Action-Oriented Organizing Meeting
Location: 519 Church Street Community Centre (Church & Wellesley)
Date: Thursday June 9, 2011, Time: 1pm – 5pm  (The 519 is a wheelchair accessible space.)
To stay informed, please join the C2C mailing list by signing up here

This has been your political PSA for the day. I’m off to cost and source marketing materials.

May 18, 2011

Coffee and Other Sources of Engagement

It was an early morning meeting day  today – my first was up at Yonge and St. Clair (I say up as I am a downtown girl) with Sean Howard. Sean is the author of Craphammer – a blog I love reading, mostly because it’s fiercely intelligent like he is, and partially because I adore Sean. Sean and I first worked together when he was with Spinglobe and I was with Artscape and we’ve never lost touch.

I like having coffee with Sean – for me, Sean manages to strike just the right balance between art and digital engagement.  Right now he’s working on a presentation  for an international arts and culture group so we were talking about social media, going through examples of engagement that I’ve really liked in the past while. I mentioned that many companies are getting really good at making Youtube videos for their upcoming productions, no matter what the budget  – Groundwater Production’s Montparnasse  was my first thought, followed by the ones that Soulpepper have been making. In terms of overall season commercials, This Is The Place  by Theatre Passe Muraille made me really happy. (Although I wish it were posted to YouTube as well as Facebook).

We also talked about contests we’d found effective – Vancouver Opera’s contest “Where’s Nixon?” was a fantastic idea, extremely interactive and well executed.

Why am I telling you this? To make the point that none of these ideas and videos are recent ,as in they are less than a month old. But they’ve stuck in my head. They’re good and worth sharing. When was the last time you shared a flyer with a friend? Rarely, I would guess. But all these videos take are an email, or Facebook post and three magic words – “Check this out”.

Just as importantly,  they’ve got staying power – long after the flyers are recycled and the posters taken down, the programs in scrapbooks or archives and the website changed for the new season’s productions and colours –  these videos can be viewed again and again – and that means your company benefits from that staying power – they’ve gone past being an ad for a specific production and into becoming an ad for your company as producer. In short –  they’re excellent examples of what else are you going to do?

SIDE NOTE – delighted to announce I will be working with the amazing team over at Expect Theatre on their upcoming production of AWAKE – I’ve known Chris and Laura (the talented folks at the helm) for years and can’t wait to collaborate with them on this fantastic piece of theatre. You can follow them on Twitter @ExpectTheatre.

Reminder that the OAC Compass deadline is still approaching – June 1st, folks. Let’s talk.

May 15, 2011

Sunday Roundup – May 15

So this has been the first week of blog posting. I`ve decided Sundays might be a roundup of the week`s posts, and other news that didn`t get a post but is still cool in my circles. If you have a tidbit you think is interesting, you can send it to me here.

Customer Service: Are we Falling Down? Great article from the Creative Trust blog about Customer Service in the arts. You can spend a ton of time on marketing and PR initiatives, but if your front line isn’t in tip-top shape, it all falls apart.

So THAT’s Why We Do It… fun article by Max Read over at Gawker on how looking at art mimics falling in love. To our brains, anyway.

The Ten Best Theatre Production Companies in Toronto – repost from an article on BlogTO. This got a lot of traffic of course. I’m still not sure I agree, simply because art is subjective, and hard to compare.

Will You Be Participating In Culture Days? well? will you?

Have You Checked Out Today’s Google Doodle?  – Happy birthday Martha! One of the best Google Doodles I’ve seen, and in honour of one of the doyennes of modern dance.

Fill It Out. Shape Your City. This is a big one, folks, and the one I recommended you work on today. Since I’ve posted there has been more information sent out, including a great initiative from OneToronto, and a couple of articles indicating “Ford Nation” is more invited  to participate than the rest of the folks. Fill it out, register for a roundtable. The arts are a HUGE industry in this city, and our opinion matters.

You’ll Never Guess Where I’m Posting From!  – Thoroughly Modern Sue posts to you live from a sushi joint thanks  to the miracles of modern technology.

Painting Yourself Into A Corner – why we hire professionals to do things.

Other News

Although Bixi officially launched May 3rd, last week was the week when I really started seeing the advertising, the racks and the posts from friends about getting their Bixi keys. It’s an exciting initiative and one I’m proud Toronto is participating in.

The elephants are heading elsewhere. The Toronto Zoo pachyderms are going somewhere more appropriate to retire and enjoy the rest of their time after 30+ years in showbiz. Think warm and with space for them to roam. Perhaps they’re heading to Florida with the rest of the snowbird seniors. Either way – good.

Speaking of migrating,if you were a member of the Harold Awards group, or the Artsvote group on Facebook, new pages have been created – visit The Harold Awards or ArtsvoteTO to keep yourself in the thick of things.

Interesting piece on how we waste food from the gang over at Folks Gotta Eat. Makes you think.

A friendly reminder that if you’re wondering how to come up with the cash to initiate a bigger picture strategic marketing and communications plan for your org,  the Ontario Arts Council deadline for their Compass program is June 1.  Happy to chat about how I could help you with both the grant and as the specialist you apply to work with.

And finally since it wouldn’t be Sunday without the comics, here you go. It’s from 3eanuts by Daniel Leonard – a site I absolutely love and you should check out.
Happy Sunday!

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