“Amateurs arts organizations need affordable spaces to continue their work of inspiring youth, keeping seniors connected, and enriching our neighbourhoods.” – Mark Saunders
May 24 (Toronto): As Mayor, Mark Saunders would take steps to create more affordable spaces for amateur arts organizations, as well as make it easier for them to access grants from the Toronto Arts Council.
Community arts take place all across the city in different forms: visual arts, dance, music, and theatre. Typically run by volunteers, these organizations give amateur artists and performers a chance to engage in their art, and they contribute to the cultural life of the community through performances and exhibitions.
Their activities help bring in tourists, support the development and well-being of young people, seniors, and people with disabilities, give residents an opportunity to participate in the arts, and by increasing residents’ interest in the arts, they support the professional arts community. But finding affordable venues in the city remains a challenge.
“While amateur arts organizations enrich our communities, they have limited resources and are hard-pressed to find affordable spaces in Toronto for everything from rehearsals to competitions to exhibits,” said Saunders. “The City needs to make it easier for residents to engage in amateur arts, and finding affordable venues would make a big difference.”
The Toronto Arts Council does fund non-profit groups, but in pursuing their worthy goal of including more diverse communities, they have put strain on established amateur organizations who rely on grant monies. Diversity, equity and inclusion should mean that no one is excluded from any opportunity, and organizations need to be aware of, and remove their barriers. It shouldn’t penalize organizations that don’t achieve participation from every community in the area they serve.
As Mayor, Mark Saunders would support amateurs arts organizations in Toronto by:
● Helping organizations access non-traditional venues for performances, rehearsals, and exhibitions by supporting public-private partnerships and by-law amendments that would give them access to new spaces.
● Requiring the Toronto Music Advisory Committee to include a representative for the amateur arts community in its membership.
● Reviewing Toronto Arts Council’s approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as it relates to their granting policies, to ensure that small-budget amateur groups are not excluded.
The full plan is available at MarkSaundersforToronto.ca.