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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Message from Peter Caldwell, Director & CEO

June 27, 2014

The provincial election is now behind us. We will soon be sending congratulatory messages to all returning Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP), and messages of welcome and introduction to all newly elected MPPs. As soon as they’ve had time to settle into their offices, we will share information with new and returning MPPs about the important work being done by Ontario’s arts community in each riding and throughout the province, and the support provided by the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). In the meantime, work continues on several fronts.

One of my colleagues frequently says “we’re getting into the weeds” when we’re planning large projects and find ourselves bogged down with small details. As you know from our previous newsletter, OAC is involved with several very large projects: the new multiyear strategic plan, the Nova IT project and planning for a new office space in early 2016. Given that summer’s almost here, let’s think of it as OAC nurturing its flower beds. There are no weeds here! 


The biggest and most complex of our major initiatives is Nova, our new online granting system. Dapasoft, the company developing Nova, has almost completed the product design phase. With more than 60 funding programs to accommodate, the many OAC staff who are involved with various aspects of the project have had their work cut out for them. In fact, they have been working hard for many months now to outline the hundreds, or possibly thousands, of requirements that must be met to make the online process work well for Ontario artists and arts organizations as well as for OAC jurors, advisors and staff. 

Where are we now?

Over the summer, we will start migrating data to Nova and then begin internal testing. This process will involve most OAC granting staff, and we will also invite some external applicants to assist us in the testing phase.

One of the trickiest elements of moving to a new system is managing the transition. To mitigate the inconvenience for applicants, we will have an extensive overlap period, during which we will be working with both systems simultaneously.

This fall, we will determine which OAC programs will be the first to go online. This staged approach will then begin in January 2015.

While we are not there yet, the new system will eventually mean significant savings on postage and paper and physical delivery, not to mention time, for OAC applicants, peer assessors and staff. Please stay tuned for future developments. 

Fall launch for strategic plan

We will launch OAC’s new strategic plan in fall 2014. OAC staff are currently working on the operational implications of the plan, so that when we unveil the broad goals and strategies that form the plan, already approved by the OAC board of directors, we will also be able to share some of the anticipated implementation strategies and timing. We’ll share more details on the strategic plan launch in the September newsletter.

Revised OAC logo

To coincide with the end of our 50th anniversary year, we have updated our normal (non-50th) logo to include the tagline “an Ontario government agency,” the use of which is now specifically required by the Government of Ontario. This is the only version of the logo available to acknowledge OAC’s support in your programs and other publicity materials. Please do not delete this tagline when acknowledging OAC’s support, and please be sure to reproduce the logo at a size where the tagline will be legible. Use of the OAC logo, including the Government of Ontario tagline at a legible size, is a requirement of all OAC grants. I also want to thank those of you who marked OAC’s 50th anniversary year, the celebrations of which officially ended on April 26, 2014. I believe that your collective efforts to highlight the importance of public funding to the arts in our communities had a very positive impact.

Farewell Aengus

Finally, I would like to salute and thank Aengus Finnan, OAC’s Touring and Audience Development Officer, who has accepted the position of Executive Director of Folk Alliance International (FAI). The lure of returning to the music fold was too great for Aengus to resist, and he has now moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where the organization and its annual conference are located. We will all miss Aengus’s passionate commitment to Ontario artists, but we know he will continue to be a proud advocate in his new sphere. In the meantime, we welcome back Jessica Deljouravesh from maternity leave. As Cross-Sectoral Associate Officer, she will be handling the touring and audience development responsibilities in the interim.

All the best for a fantastic summer.