Posts tagged ‘Toronto City Hall’

November 29, 2013

$3.6 million does not equal $6 million. Ten years later – still waiting.

This past Monday, the first draft of the City Budget was released. There is a $3.6m increase in arts funding, which, while good, it is still a far cry from the $6m that we asked for.

Despite early indications that the full next phase of funding was allocated, the current budget falls short of reaching our targets. This is yet another delay in reaching the $25 per capita target that was established way back in 2003.
Increasing the city’s investment in culture is a central part of the City’s strategic plan at the highest level, and was unanimously endorsed again in 2013. We need to build on the success of 2013 and keep that momentum going.

In particular, the areas in the 2014 budget that fall short of requested amounts are the granting programs – the Toronto Arts Council, the Local Arts Service Organizations, the Major Cultural Organizations program and CultureBuild.

While many councillors are supportive of our cause, not many are going to look through the budget detail specifically with the Arts in mind. So we need to let them know. Please email your Councillor, thank them for their support and ask them to follow-up with their colleagues, with Budget committee, with staff, and voice their support for getting that number back up to $6 million. Emails can be found HERE.

Plans in our sector were and are being made based on that $6 million. Jobs and productions were and are being created. Let’s not take one step forward, and 2.4 million backwards. Email your councillor. Please.

Budget notes pertaining to Culture and Ec-Dev are here.

November 5, 2013

PSA: Arts Day At The City #artsdayTO

November 3, 2013

Sunday Roundup – November 3

And here we are.

Theatre Lab closed with sold out shows last week, Bound to Create opened with a full house on Friday and rehearsals for The Tin Drum start this week.
Yesterday I was off to the opening reception for A. Shay Hahn’s annual November show at the Cameron House. You can see the work here and more importantly you can see it in person at the Cameron.

Don’t tell me there’s nothing to do in this city.

The Fourth Annual Arts Day  at the City is happening Friday the 8th. We’re meeting individually with over half of City Council to talk about the important of the arts and the good it does for our city as a whole. You can follow us and contribute on Twitter using #artsdayTO – tell us why the arts are important to Toronto, tell us why they’re important to you, post your own #justthebeginning photos (link to signage is here), read up on the info Toronto Arts Council has created so you know what’s up with arts funding for our cultural sector.


A New Canada Council Program

an Arts Shared Platform Survey and cdap is back here’s a bit more info on the shared platform survey, which is a Metcalf Initiative – click here to download and read the report.

From the Blog Post File  a double Facebook post.

Into the week. Also, I like this idea that I found on Facebook:



May 24, 2013

It’s Come to This, Has It?

CT  CT 070611-ENT ent-0706-texting MJWTitle doing double duty today – a couple of great (great’s an odd word for it) articles on how we seem to be getting ruder and ruder in public places. And we’re starting to react.

The Great Fight Way: Broadway Audiences Are Behaving Badly, and Someone Is Going to Get Hurt

In Mr. Zavelson’s opinion, it’s not just the technology audience members have in the palms of their hands that’s to blame. He suspects that on-demand and streaming media services have accustomed people to viewing “shows” in the casual atmosphere of their own homes, and now they are bringing those manners with them into the public space.”

I guess for me the part where I wasn’t in my pajamas and had paid money to be there would remind me I wasn’t at home, but there you go.

and last week

Theater Night: Vigilantes 1, Vulgarians 0
“The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: “So don’t look.” I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business.”

I  was at a movie a couple of weeks, the couple sitting three seats over from me carried on a discussion about the movie the entire two hours. I am going to give them a small benefit as their stupidity seemed to be  – uh  – chemically induced. One of those couples who were talking during an exposition scene then when the exposition became reality, were full of questions because they’d missed the exposition.

I don’t even know any more. I don’t know about a lot of things. I do know I mentioned there might be another “Dear Rob” post this week and it didn’t happen. The story gets sadder and more ridiculous by the day. Instead, here’s a link to Ivor Tossell’s Dear Rob. The most upsetting paragraph holds the most truth for me –

“Bad as they are, things could keep getting worse. Irrespective of the allegations themselves, Ford has terminally damaged his credibility by leaving the city hanging when it needed to hear from him most. And with his credibility goes our credibility, in our own eyes and the eyes of the world on which we depend. Toronto cannot keep on until the end of 2014 with a mayor who won’t address the charges against him that have ground government to a halt, who’s turned his city into a global laughingstock, and who could well be self-destructing in the grips of an addiction. The status quo is not an option. Yet the courses that aren’t an option are the ones Ford has historically been most determined to pursue.”

Reminder to take a break every so often from the 24 hour newsfeed. Go outside for a bit, I know it’s cold but you know what I mean.



April 14, 2013

Sunday Roundup – April 14

RMK1248SCS-595I took a proper weekend as the last one was spent at City Arts Funding Consultations and giving a workshop. Both excellent uses of a weekend, but sometimes you need a couple days of Netflix to wind down.

Quantifying the Qualifiable

Social Media Rockstars?

Rainy Friday


Tomorrow is the last class of CDAM 101 and it’s been a pleasure working with the participants these past seven weeks, they claim to have learned a lot and enjoyed the class and I can say the same thing about them. I wish them every success in their ventures and hope to keep hearing about what they’re doing in the arts and culture world. I hope I get to teach at Ryerson again, now that I know how it works (and have my teacher ID!) I’d like to go back.

My Arts Planning partner in crime Lisa spent some time last week looking for rehearsal spaces for There’s Always You – the Fringe show I’m producing – expect a blog post PSA this week on the good half-dozen places she found.

Here’s something wonderful for a Sunday from If you need a shot of colour right now, watch this.

This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color. How great is this?

December 4, 2011

Sunday Roundup – December 4

It’s DECEMBER. Weird.

Last week of Entrepreneuse School this week, the end of one chapter  is hurtling towards us with the beginning of a new one of the very next page.

This week was art nd politics and art and politics and trying to figure out the best way to explain to some the important of the former to the latter. How did we do?

a tale as old as time, a 30′s style salon and our national anthem – the 1164 Cabaret was born at Pentimento Gallery and needs to become a regular thing in my opinion.

Cool contest with Angelwalk Theatre – it is. Break out the FlipCam and off you go.

A Message From Friends of the Arts Re: 2012 Toronto City Budget Recommendations – ten percent cuts across the board  – culture division, the majors, grants you name it – nothing is sacred. If you read no other post here today, read this one and its companion piece.

About Red – playing at the Bluma, courtesy Canadian Stage. Go and see it.Pieces like Red are part of he reason the posts above and below it are so important.

How To Make a Deputation: A Message from the Toronto Arts Foundation – part two. If the post about the cuts worked you up enough to go and say something, here’s a handy primer from the TAF on how to say it well.

In other quick news – Saw VideoCab’s The Life and Times of Mackenzie King yesterday afternoon – they are the perfect part of an awesome Saturday. Go and see it, if for no other reason that to try to figure out who RB Bennett reminds you of.

Have a good Sunday – those clouds look suspiciously determined so I’ll sit tight here and finish my deputation and business plan.




December 2, 2011

How To Make a Deputation: A Message from the Toronto Arts Foundation


On November 28, the City Manager presented the 2012 Operating Budget to the City’s Budget Committee.  The proposed budget recommends a 10% cut to arts grants. If passed, city arts funding will be reduced by $1.94 million.

Clearly, this would affect Toronto’s cultural vitality and reduce or eliminate arts programming including performances, exhibitions, festivals, readings and events that are vital to Toronto residents and visitors.

To help encourage Toronto City Council to reverse this decision, Toronto Arts Foundation and Friends of the Arts Network are calling on all arts supporters to speak at the City’s Budget Committee.  Guide including information and messaging follows:

Public Deputation Guide – Budget Committee Meeting Dec 7, 8, 2011

Toronto’s Budget Committee will hear deputations from the public at its meeting taking place on December 7 and 8, next Wednesday and Thursday.  The meeting will be held at City Hall, beginning at 9:30 am and concluding at 9:30 pm both days. For those unable to attend in person, it is possible to send a written submission to Budget Committee,

Deadline to register to speak:  December 6, 4:00 p.m.

How to register:  Call 416-392-7340 or email  Give your name, address and phone and let them know you would like to speak at the Budget Committee meeting that begins on December 7.  Ask them to let you know your approximate number on the list which will give some indication of when you will be called.

How long is a deputation:  The usual public deputation speaking time is 5 minutes.  However, when the list of speakers is long, the committee can choose to reduce the speaking time.  We recommend you prepare a speech of 2.5 minutes.

Who Should Speak:  The most effective speakers are volunteers.   Volunteer board members, sponsors, donors, and local business owners make excellent speakers, as do those participating in programs.  Children and youth can be effective speakers.
NB:  the person whose name is on the register must attend, or you will lose your spot on the list.   However, if you sign up your own name and you’d like your board chair, or a program sponsor to speak, it is possible for both of you to go up to the podium.  You then introduce yourself, introduce the other speaker and share your time at the podium.  You will not be given extra time just because there is more than one person.

Who is Listening:  The Budget Committee is made up of 7 Councillors (Mike Del Grande, Chair, Michelle Berardinetti, Frank Di Giorgio, Doug Ford, Chin Lee, Peter Milczyn, John Parker). Other Councillors will likely be in attendance as guests.  Note that all these Councillors are spending very long hours listening to public concerns.

Effective Deputations:  Many Councillors are looking for public support to help them make tough decisions.  Essentially you want to offer them compelling reasons to do the right thing but not to critize them for the City Manager’s budget.  The most effective way to do this is to be respectful and offer positive stories and facts on the value of arts programming.  NB: Practice your remarks; make sure you can fit what you want to say into 3 minutes. If you have a talent – poetry, spoken word, storytelling – don’t hesitate to use it; Councillors respond well when the message is delivered creatively.

Arts Messaging for 2012 Budget:
Possible Messages (remember there will be lots of speakers; there is no need to cover all messages, select the one(s) that resonate with you):

  • The impact of a 10% cut – what programming will be reduced or eliminated; how will Toronto residents be affected by this cut.
  • Why 10% is more than 10% – ie. a cut of 10% can spiral into loss of even more funding if it prevents fundraising, reduces staff and financial capacity or means fewer programs leading to reduced sponsorship or government support etc.
  • How this cut will affect local businesses (restaurants, arts supply stores etc)
  • Toronto’s arts organizations raise $17.75 from other sources for every $1 invested by Toronto.  This cut to grants will lead directly to a loss of $25 million to Toronto – this will have a significant impact on jobs, tourism and economic development
  • On November 29, Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby presented a Friends of the Arts petition signed by over 20,000 Torontonians living in every ward of the city, requesting City Council to maintain its support of arts funding.
  • Toronto City Council voted unanimously in May 2011 to approve Creative Capital Gains which recommends increasing (not decreasing) arts funding to $25 per capita.  The proposed budget reduces Toronto’s arts investment to just $17 per capita, much lower than all our competitive cities (Chicago at $26, New York at $74, Montreal at well over $30).
  • On November 23 the European Commission proposed spending $2.4 Billion as part of a  Pan-European goal to stimulate the economy through cultural enterprise.  As other economies invest even more in culture, Toronto will fall further behind.

For more arts benefits and funding impacts go to Toronto Arts Foundation’s Advocacy page.
Key Dates:
December 7 and 8; 9:30 am to 9:30 pm: Budget Committee Public Deputations
January 9: Budget Committee Final Wrap Up
January 17: City Council Approval of Operating and Capital Budgets

Thank you for your participation.

If you have questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email or contact Susan Wright at 416-392-6802 x211.

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.


September 9, 2011

Repost – What Arts Funding Does For a City

This is a re-post from July 17.

Given the article about arts funding being at risk, I thought it was appropriate. If you think that large organizations having millions of dollars potentially cut from their funding doesn’t affect you – it will.  Since numbers seem to be the important thing, here we go.

I was thinking yesterday about the money spent on something like the Fringe, what’s called ancillary expenses – money spent outside of the actual ticket. That’s the money that supports the economy, the bigger picture that some folks can’t seem to grasp.  So i thought I’d do a little breakdown over the course of a week’s worth of Fringing. I’ll leave out ticket price.

For every day I Fringed I spent the following:

$2 – $5 Tipping the Fringe
$5 on freezies for an overheated tired staff
$5.50 per beer at the tent – figure two for me and one for someone who needed one, so $16.50 plus tip so let’s say an even $20.00
$10 on dinner either from Southern Accent or Butler’s Pantry on site
$12.50 on a taxi home.

That’s $52.50 an outing, with an outing lasting maybe four hours. Not including a $10 ticket. So over three days (I was there more but three is a round number) that’s $157.50 spent not on art, but other things I did and ate and drank because I was seeing art. Money spent on local businesses and a neighbourhood.

So let’s say last Friday the folks out for the evening spent that amount each. So multiply $52.50 by these people:

and i think you’d have to agree that art just might be an important thing to have in a city not just for the culture part, but as a building block of the local economy.  Photo above by Corbin Smith of torontoist.

Ten day festival, folks. In case you’re willing to dismiss the photo above as, “well of course! It’s Friday night!” – here’s a shot of last Monday, taken by Gideon Arthurs. I know – nobody goes out on a Monday

September 9, 2011

Arts Funding.

Short post today – we need to do a few basic things.  Let’s make some time.

1) Need to read this article, and think about the ramifications to our sector. (2 minutes)

City Arts Grants At Risk  – A proposal drafted at Toronto City Hall to slash all funding to major arts organizations is sending shock waves through Toronto’s cultural world, the Star has learned.

The proposal, prepared by city manager Joe Pennachetti in response to a request from Mayor Rob Ford’s office, is intended to be presented at a meeting of the city’s executive committee on Sept. 19.

If passed by city council, the plan would eliminate more than $6 million of annual funding that goes directly to 10 of the city’s top arts more.

2) Need to sign this petition – Petition to Protect Arts Funding. (30 seconds)

3) Need to call and write your councillor. Find them here. (5 minutes)

4) Here’s the link to the schedule of Toronto City Council meetings.


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