Not any more

Canadian celebrities call for more arts funding

In Canada on August 16, 2010 at 16:29

Some of the most recognizable faces of the Canadian arts scene delivered impassioned pleas to city officials this morning to bump up cultural funding.

Members of the executive committee heard from former prima ballerina Karen Kain, Toronto International Film Festival co-director Cameron Bailey, actors Eric Peterson and Albert Schultz and representatives from local arts advocacy agencies.
They’re calling on the city to increase the current $18 per capita spending to $25, which was supposed to happen by 2008.

Toronto’s cultural investment is often compared to other urban centres, like Vancouver which spends $26 a head, Montreal which spends $33, New York at $54 and San Francisco at $80.

“The importance of the arts to the societies in which they thrive is well documented,” said Karen Kain, artistic director for the National Ballet of Canada. It entertains 150,000 people every year, employs 68 dancers, 60 musicians, and 100 support staff. “The arts are an integral part of the city’s economic progress.”

Eric Peterson, of Street Legal and Corner Gas fame, said arts and culture are sorely underfunded in Toronto. “It’s amazing that we have as much artistic activity as this city enjoys,” he said, adding that it speaks to the ingenuity and ability to spend dollars effectively of all those involved.

Bumping up the targeted arts investment to $25 per capita by 2013 means the city would spend an additional $17.5-million in arts programming. Councillor Doug Holyday questioned whether the city can afford it. Councillor Shelley Carroll said approving an increased target doesn’t mean the funding is guaranteed.

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