ArtsTalk Blog - Letter to Mr. Jim Wilson Opposition House Leader MPP Simcoe-Grey

Dear Mr. Wilson,

I am writing to you today in my capacity as the new Chair of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). I am pleased to continue the tradition of sharing information with you about successful applicants from your riding to OAC’s latest program deadlines. We encourage you to use this information to recognize these OAC grant recipients and your local arts community.

Please note that most OAC operating grants to organizations awarded from April 2015 and onward are slightly lower than last year’s. Last fall, OAC announced why we had no choice but to alter the funding framework:
· OAC has had no increase in its base funding since 2009-10, while operating costs and demand have both grown significantly. Even without increased funding, however, our programs have remained open to all applicants.
· To close the gap between revenues and expenditures, while ensuring that funding remains available to support new/emerging arts activity, we have reduced all operating grants and all project program budgets by 5% across-the-board, commencing 2015-16. Some of the funds from this reduction will be redirected towards emerging arts activity, as mentioned, along with increased grant levels to some of OAC’s most highly-assessed organizations, if they were underfunded compared to similar organizations.

Operating grants:

South Simcoe Arts Council was awarded $8,000 through the Community Arts Councils program toward the operation of this organization. Established in 1994, South Simcoe Arts Council fosters the cultural enrichment of South Simcoe by developing a widespread appreciation of, support for and involvement with the arts. It strives to inspire all artists to develop creatively and to feel encouraged to express themselves with new and fresh approaches. They also provide forums for all artists to share their work and talent in its communities.

Arts and culture play a significant role in Ontario’s economy. Ontario’s arts, culture and heritage sector represents $23.8 billion or 4 per cent of the province’s GDP and over 301,000 jobs. (These figures measure all of the culture sector’s output – including both culture and non-culture products, e.g. a theatre company may generate GDP from both ticket sales – a culture activity – and food and beverage services – a non-culture activity.)

The arts also benefit the social, cultural and civic life of Ontarians. According to our study, The Arts and the Quality of Life, commissioned from Environics, a resounding 95 per cent of Ontarians said that the arts enrich the quality of our lives. A further 89 per cent said that if their community lost its arts activities, people living there would lose something of value.

If you would like more information about OAC or how we can support your efforts to highlight the importance of the arts in your riding, please contact Shoshana Wasser, OAC Communications Coordinator, at 416-969-7434 (1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434), or swasser@arts.on.ca.

Sincerely,

Rita Davies
Chair

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2014-15, OAC funded 1,709 individual artists and 1,078 organizations in 204 communities across Ontario for a total of $52.1 million.

Cc: Mr. Jim Wilson, MPP Simcoe-Grey, Constituency Office
Lynda Mitchell Reynolds, Executive Director, South Simcoe Arts Council

Shoshana Wasser
Communications Coordinator | Coordonnatrice des communications