Posts tagged ‘Toronto’

November 18, 2013

Thank You – Arts Day At The City #artsdayTO

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.

November 17, 2013

Sunday Roundup – November 17

 

I am assuming you are reading this just prior to purchasing tickets for Bound to Create’s dirty butterfly – last performance is today’s matinée.

 #morethanford

Artscape Is Looking For Volunteers!

This:

and also this: Date a girl who doesn’t read

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November 14, 2013

#morethanford

Two art directors at john st., Hannah Smit and Marie Richer, have created an online campaign called “More Than Ford” to spread a different message about the city than the one that has made the most headlines recently.

Click here for Globe and Mail article.

 

November 5, 2013

PSA: Arts Day At The City #artsdayTO

July 25, 2013

it’s the LabCab Festival: Parkdale!

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This weekend! July 27th and 28th, 2013

On Queen St West beginning near Roncesvalles Ave & ending at Dufferin St noon to 6pm ALL EVENTS ARE FREE!

From their excellent website: The Lab Cab Festival: Parkdale is a free, annual multi-arts festival. Music, dance, theatre, film, poetry, crafts, kids stuff, visual art and comedy are performed in the restaurants, bars, community centres, boutiques, cafés, parks, libraries, parking lots, hair salons, flower shops, churches, clothing stores, antique stores, book stores and businesses in the Parkdale neighbourhood. Acts range from two to thirty minutes and include a range of expertise in each field: from well established artists to those just starting. The mandate of the Lab Cab Festival is to provide a home for local artists of various disciplines to experiment with new work in a fun and risk-free environment. We offer free workshops, free childcare and a free pancake breakfast.  The Lab Cab Festival is free, family friendly and community oriented.

click here for the everything that’s going on, and here for the more specific schedule of events. See you this weekend!

July 6, 2013

#TOFringe – July 6 – Day Four

Sold out show for It’s Always You yesterday – get your tickets folks!

I met a super lovely couple from Richmond. VA yesterday while in line for a show, and they were over the moon delighted with all things Fringe. They’d always wanted to come to Toronto, they realized they had enough airmiles to do so, and decided to come to Fringe for a few days. And were LOVING it. So nice to chat with them, and I hope they had a safe flight home.

Normally I don’t post on Saturdays but Fringe waits for no one and there’s far too much amazing stuff going on including an UNDERGROUND DANCE PARTY!

What’s Going On

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What I’m Seeing

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and

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was hanging around the Fringe Club/Visual Fringe yesterday post tent talk, and realized the av sideshow was about to begin. A reminder to all that alley plays are ridiculously convenient and RIGHT THERE so you probably should check out at least one.

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Fun fact: Number of my programs I’ve given to people who don’t have a program yet? NINE.

May 6, 2013

Goodbye Galas, Outside the Arts Box and The Critic Stumbles

glalas
Beautiful weekend. Beautiful day.

Three articles last week struck me during my daily stuff to read – the first two speak to each other and are from the same publication, so that makes sense – but then I was wandering around Seth’s Blog and another one struck me as fitting into this trinity of new ways of thinking.

 

Why Toronto is Saying Goodbye to Galas
I came of Arts Admin age just at the edge of big galas – the silent auctions that made thousands, five hundred dollars a plate, four thousand for a table and the It girls were always there in the grand ballroom of the It Hotel. It will be interesting to see what we do differently in the future. I don’t necessarily think the old-school gala is a great tool for engagement, not only do I want your money, I want your time. And most folks are a little short on one or the other, and usually both. I’d personally enjoy the end of the silent auction. So tired of it. So little money made in most cases. So much effort. Next up,

Arts groups thinking outside the box – and way beyond the box office  The final paragraph, the whole final section, hits quite literally close to home:

The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, with 185 commercial and non-profit members in theatre, dance and opera, is exploring new strategies for survival in a volatile environment. “Toronto companies have recognized they need to embrace adaptive change, and there are many already working on it,” says Jacoba Knaapen, executive director of TAPA, noting how mobile technology is transforming the consumption of arts and culture.

Since 2011, as part of a project with Arts Research Action, a consulting group, TAPA has worked with members to explore new approaches to a range of issues, including how to attract younger, more diverse audiences. The results will be included in a report to be released next year. “There are some really deep-seated assumptions that our organizations inherited in a language that dates back to when the companies were founded 35 to 40 years ago,” observes Knaapen. “The assumptions they have inherited are part of the old way, and the old way has to change to a more adaptive model.”

In 2009-10, ticket sales for theatre, dance and opera in Toronto dropped to $132-million from $170-million in 2005-06, according to TAPA.

Grim stuff. The final piece of today’s triptych comes from Seth Godin: The Critic Stumbles. His words:
For me, the opinion of any single critic is becoming less and less meaningful as I choose what to view or engage with. And the aggregate opinion of masses of anonymous critics merely tells me that the product or content is (or isn’t) mass-friendly. I’m far more moved by the insistent recommendation of a credible, raving fan than I am the snide whispering of some people who just didn’t get it.”

You see why these articles struck me as a fit together. All talk about needing to embrace new ways of fundraising, engaging, working. Some things to think about. Many in fact – think, talk, share, engage.

 

April 30, 2013

Our Illustrious Mayor and – no, just that.

mayor_ford_180I said a few months back I was tired of writing about His Worship because I can only have this look on my face for so long before it starts to become aging, and I felt he was doing a fine job on his own of having his – antics – tracked. But Edward Keenan’s piece in the Grid last week is really quite excellent. This struck me.

But if you have essentially given up on doing the job the people of Toronto elected you to do, the job they pay you to do, then it’s all a fun game of seeing what might turn into a wedge issue in the next election campaign. Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, thinks he gets to run again on the anti-government, these-guys-running-this-place-are-incompetent load of hooey he ran on before. Neat trick. Who knows, it could work. It worked for him last time. It’s the only political point he’s ever known how to make, and the only one he’s ever had to make.

But it’s not leadership. It is beneath his office, beneath this city, beneath the trust of the voters and taxpayers who elected him. Instead of doing his job, he’s playing a cynical, cowardly, political game. Let someone else make the difficult decisions so he can complain about them. Read the article

Why did that strike me?

Because it could happen again.

Not enough people took him seriously last time, I mean as a credible candidate. Or rather, not enough people took the people who took him seriously, seriously. Voters don’t seem to vote for candidates anymore – they vote against candidates.  Not him-not-her-dear-god-anyone-but-him-or-her.

I will say that I’ve never really seen a city so activated and involved in politics, and I think that’s a good thing.

May I humbly make a suggestion? Talk to someone you don’t agree with on politics. Find out why they feel the way they do. Find out who they want to lead, not who they’d want have a beer with. Always drove me nuts that question, there’s tons of people I’d like to have a beer with, not many of them who I’d want for mayor. More importantly, we already agree. We’re on the same page as to what we want for this city, be it culture funding or bike lanes or no casino. We’re already convinced, we don’t need to convince each other any more.

Find the people who you don’t agree with. Talk to them. Find out why, and what they’re thinking. What makes them tick, and what makes them tick off a candidate’s check box on a ballot. Last election was the classic pendulum swing, from Miller to Ford. Perhaps this time, we could find something in the middle.

And have a beer together.

April 7, 2013

Sunday Roundup – April 7

rc_fluteNo rest for the weary this week as I spent yesterday afternoon at the first of four public consultations for spending priorities for the new arts funding. Online surveys and other consult dates are here. It was an interesting afternoon, with a full house and a great deal of discussion on spending and where artists and arts workers envision this new money going. I hope the responses are taken seriously by those collecting them, and thoughtfully added into the grand scheme of things. And I hope the momentum of the past year is maintained. It needs to be.

Sometimes Hearing is Believing  The Whipping Man is running for another week and I urge you to go and see it. Some wonderful work there.

About Yesterday…

Supporting the Arts in Many Ways, Legoland and Social Influences

Arts Funding, Social Media Presence, and Where We Work

Brendan Healy wrote an extremely brave letter last week. From TorontoistIt’s no secret that many of Toronto’s theatre companies have seen the numbers of paying customers coming through their doors shrink over the last few years. Companies have had to adjust in response—a process known euphemistically as “right-sizing.” But when the artistic director of one of Toronto’s most iconic companies—which Buddies In Bad Times, “the largest facility-based queer theatre company in the world,” definitely is—has to write a letter to the citizens of Toronto (theatre-going or not) expressing his surprise at low attendance for a new play from one of Canada’s most acclaimed and accomplished playwrights (Daniel MacIvor’s Arigato, Tokyo, in this instance), there’s a problem. ADs are not usually ones to admit a show, especially one they’ve directed themselves, isn’t performing up to their expectations in the box office.

TAPA has been working for quite some time on documenting and understanding these numbers. Quick article in the Globe and Mail last week –
Healy’s actions come less than a month after he attended a meeting to which the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts invited the artistic directors of some 185 professional theatre, dance and opera companies “to discuss the current climate … the current challenges.”
Details of the March 11 meeting are confidential. Nevertheless, it’s likely attendance was discussed as TAPA, established in 1979, has been gathering statistics for almost 10 years with respect to Toronto performing arts. In a brief interview Thursday, TAPA executive director Jacoba Knaapen noted that between 2005-06 and 2009-10, ticket sales to professional theatre, dance and opera performances declined by eight per cent, going to 2.3-million tickets purchased from 2.5-million.
Read more

Giving a workshop in Social Media 101 for DTRC’s Living Creatively conference. I like the setup of this one – Tierney of Tech Soup is doing the tech part, I am doing the social part. I like new formats, and am looking forward to seeing who’s there.

Off into the day. Apparently it’s spring. I wish I could see more proof of that.

OH! Was at the opening of Opera Atelier’s the Magic Flute last night – so, so beautiful. Go and see if you can. It’s an easy intro opera – populist if you will, it’s  in English and it’s  a singspiel and it’s wonderful to see so many people under the age of twenty, heck, under the age of twelve at the opera and loving it.

March 25, 2013

Our Work Is Never Quite Done

Arts Advocacy Committee meeting last week, emails back and forth about arts funding, links posted and reposted and reminded, so of course I was all set to write an impassioned post this morning about how in terms of that 4 million in arts funding? We ain’t there yet.
Then I was on Facebook and found someone had already written one. And since I am a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel when the wheel has been invented well – I’m posting Emma’s note in full below. Read it. It’s good. If you don’t get something, it has links.
Well spoken Ms. Emma. Talk soon.
Get Arts Funding Passed
by Emma Mackenzie Hillier (Notes) on Monday, 25 March 2013 at 11:36

Hi friends,

So remember when we found out that City Council was going to approve an extra $4,000,000 to their arts budget and we all did a happy dance? We can’t quite finish doing the Snoopie until April 3 when city council will finally vote. I don’t know about you… but in my opinion it’s our job to let our councillors and mayor know that this extra funding is crucial. I mean.. I’d love it if Theatre Projects suddenly had an extra $50,000 grand to throw to companies… like my own.

Uh oh… but wait… I can hear the self-defeatists now: “But Emma… to do that would take work and I prefer to spend all my energy on creating work… except for when I’m on facebook procrastinating because art is hard to make. Administrative Work, Emma, it would take Work!!”

Yes… yes it would… if I hadn’t drafted a letter that you can copy and paste and send along to your city councillor (whose email can be found by clicking on this link http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp).

Oh, wait… I hear another voice: “But Emma… I don’t really know anything about arts funding and how it benefits the sector in Toronto! How can I write and say I support something I don’t know enough about?”

Ah, well, my friend, simply click on this link: http://www.torontoartscouncil.org/ARTS-FACTS/Impact, read up, and maybe snoop around some more on the Toronto Arts Council’s website. There’s some useful stuff in there. Remember… an uninformed artist is an ignorant one (at least in my books). Know your shit, people. Otherwise how can you create for any community but the one in your own head?

So… all in all… it should take less time to fill out the letter below and send it to your city counillor than it did to read this note. Happy Arts Activism! You just did your good deed for the day… and your civic duty… two birds, one stone.

Dear [insert councillor],

I want to take a minute to thank you for your hard work on city council. As a member of your ward, who reads your regular newsletter, I want to let you know that I appreciate what you do for the members of your ward when you represent us to the city.

I’m writing to ask for your support of Recommendation ED20.5 at the vote on April 3, 2013. The arts sector is a vibrant part of our community and as an [insert title here] who works within the theatre industry I know first-hand how crucial additional funding is to the sector’s growth. The extra revenue, delivered to the Toronto Arts Council and then on to artists, will impact the capacity of theatre companies and individual artists to create work that speaks to the vibrant and diverse culture in Toronto.

I’m sure you’re aware of the reports and statistics that have been released on the impacts of arts funding, but to reiterate a few of the highlights:

Grants allocated by Toronto Arts Council directly support:

Creativity:

  • On average 900 new works of art are created annually with support from TAC.

Economy:

  • 15,000 artistic and administrative staff are paid by TAC funded organizations
  • $40,000,000 is generated annually in ticket sales
  • For every $1 granted to an arts organization by TAC, $14.95 is received from other levels of government, the private sector or earned revenue

Arts Access:

  • 15,000 performances, exhibitions, events are presented annually
  • 7.5 million people including 1.5 million children and youth attend TAC supported events annually

The impact on Toronto’s neighbourhoods and communities of increased arts funding includes:

  • creation of a more beautiful city
  • promotion of understanding between cultures
  • provision of opportunities for at-risk youth
  • attraction of business
  • increase of citizen engagement
  • support for underserviced neighbourhoods
  • increase of tourism
  • reduction of crime
  • increase of volunteerism
  • improvement of the economy
  • creation of community pride
  • increase in community organizational capacity

Toronto has lagged behind the rest of country in its arts funding; this increase was recommended 10 years ago. I’m so excited to see that there has been such progress towards the goal and I hope that you will aid in its passing. Speaking as a member of the arts and [insert Ward here] community I can attest to the passion, drive, and personal impact the work of our artists has on the Toronto community. Please support Recommendation ED20.5 and increase funding for this vital sector.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,

 

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