Local arts community nervous about cuts
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.