Enthusiastic applause broke out at last week’s surprise announcement by Premier Kathleen Wynne and Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport that the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) will receive a funding increase to its current base of $60 million bringing it to $80 milllion over four years by 2020-21. The $50 million increase will roll out accordingly: $5 million in 2017-18, $10 million in 2018-19, $15 million in 2019-20 and $20 million in 2020-21.
Over the next four years, this added investment to OAC programs will ensure that Ontarians have increased access to arts activity throughout the province and ensure that they see themselves represented in the arts.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announcing OAC's funding increase.
Left to right: ASL interpreter, Kathleen Wynne (Premier of Ontario), Matthew Jocelyn (Artistic & General Director, Canadian Stage), the Honorable Eleanor McMahon (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport), Rita Davies (Chair, Ontario Arts Council) and Canadian Stage artists and staff.
Two-thirds of the increased granting budget will be used to augment operating grants to arts organizations – the backbone of our province’s arts and culture infrastructure. These arts organizations showcase creation, provide arts experiences that enrich the lives of their communities and offer employment to artists and arts professionals. The funding will also support emerging organizations, often from under-represented communities, and will help them strengthen their organizational and artistic development. OAC operating grants provide continuity and stability and allow organizations to take appropriate creative risks that are part of their artistic evolution.
One third of the granting budget will go to project grants for individual artists and arts groups who are the heart of the arts and culture sector. The OAC project grants fuel creativity and innovation – the crucial first link in the “creative chain” that drives the economic impact of the arts and culture sector. Ontario’s successful cultural industries are built on the work of creators and their economic impact would not exist without the kinds of artistic creation, production and professional development which are made possible by OAC project grants.
Actors Charles Manzo (left) and Heath V. Salazar, part of the cast of Canadian Stage’s Territorial Tales, performing poems by Alice Liu.
Background (left to right): Matthew Jocelyn, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister Eleanor McMahon and OAC Chair, Rita Davies.
The new funding will allow artists and arts organizations to present their work nationally and internationally, building new markets and showcasing Ontario to the world.
Finally, this public investment in the arts will also support increased opportunities for children, youth, recent immigrants, and Ontario’s Indigenous and diverse communities, to participate in arts education and community arts engagement activities.