Lo­cal arts com­mu­nity ner­vous about cuts

Bayview Post - - NEWS | NEIGHBORHOOD -

As Toronto City Coun­cil ad­justs to a dif­fer­ent ward con­fig­u­ra­tion un­der a new provin­cial ad­min­is­tra­tion, arts or­ga­ni­za­tions across the city are get­ting ner­vous that their sec­tor will be lost in the gaps. Al­though no cuts have been an­nounced by the City of Toronto, the cre­ative com­mu­nity is be­gin­ning to pre­pare them­selves to speak up for their needs.

At a new work­shop, or­ga­nized by North York Arts, artists and ad­vo­cates gath­ered to learn how to present a pub­lic dep­u­ta­tion in front of coun­cil or gov­ern­ing com­mit­tees.

“We felt it was im­por­tant to en­sure, with this new coun­cil, that our voices would be top of mind and top of the agenda and, frankly, top of bud­get,” said Lila Karim, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of North York Arts.

At the work­shop held on Dec. 11, at­ten­dees dis­cussed the is­sues fac­ing them, in­clud­ing lack of af­ford­able space to prac­tice art and gaps in ed­u­ca­tion. The work­shop cov­ered the process of fil­ing pub­lic dep­u­ta­tion, as well as how to craft and de­liver a com­pelling state­ment to lobby for more fund­ing.

“They’ve cut coun­cil by so many po­si­tions, but the ques­tion then is how are these coun­cil­lors go­ing to cope with a hugely in­creased con­stituency with de­mands on them?” said Derek Spooner, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Scar­bor­ough Arts, who at­tended this work­shop. “I worry that the plight of the artists and try­ing to get artists voices heard and the work made and art hap­pen­ing in Toronto might be some­thing that falls by the way­side in light of other is­sues like hous­ing and trans­porta­tion.”

North York Arts is plan­ning more work­shops on pub­lic dep­u­ta­tions ahead of a bud­get com­mit­tee meet­ing in Jan­uary.

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