For immediate release, January 18, 2012
City Council Fully Restores Arts Grants for 2012!
Last night at City Hall, City Council approved the final 2012 Operating Budget. Arts Grants as well as community grants have been restored to 2011 funding levels. Thanks to the hundreds and thousands of Toronto residents who made their voices heard by deputing at meetings, calling and writing their Councillors and signing the Friends of the Arts petition, there was support across the political spectrum at City Hall for sustained funding of arts grants.
The decision to protect arts grants was reached during the Executive Committee meeting held January 12. The motion, put forward by Councillor Peter Milczyn, states: “That City Council reverse the reduction to the CPIP Budget Envelope of $1.9 million for Arts and Culture Grants, the funds to be drawn from additional assessment growth revenues.”
Executive Committee Members Councillors Jaye Robinson, Peter Milczyn, and Michael Thompson worked with the administration to find a solution to protect arts funding within the framework of an austerity budget. Councillor Gary Crawford, leading the Mayor’s Arts Task Force and Ana Bailão, Shelley Carroll, John Filion, and Mary Fragedakis, who also serve as City appointed Directors of the Board of Toronto Arts Council (TAC), also provided critical behind-the-scenes support.
Councillor Mike Layton offered very strong community leadership with his support of the Friends of the Arts Network which includes over 20,000 Toronto residents. Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director of Toronto Arts Council, said “In addition to the support of so many Councillors who championed this move to protect the arts, I am grateful for the efficient work accomplished by the Mayors Arts Task Force in such a short time.
Equally important was the strategic groundwork laid by Culture Division in developing, with Co-Chairs Robert Foster, Karen Kain and Jim Prentice, the Creative Capital Gains Report and in helping to launch the Municipal Cultural Investment in Five Large Canadian Cities Report. The research provided by these publications reveals and clarifies the critical role the arts play in the economic fabric of the city.” “I was encouraged by Councillor Milczyn’s remarks when he introduced the motion at Executive Committee,” said Toronto Arts Foundation Chair, Susan Crocker. “He made clear that this administration now considers itself a strong supporter of the arts and is willing to defend the value of arts grants despite significant cuts elsewhere.” The final 2012 Operating Budget, as well as information on all motions and votes, can be found on the City of Toronto website here