The Canadian Coalition for the Arts has just ended the Arts 308 campaign launched last October. Described as the longest campaign ever conducted by the Coalition, it was successful in delivering key messages to 122 members of parliament either in person, or via social media. Read the report online. The federal budget has since been unveiled and reveals almost no changes to arts funding. For an excellent summary of each item, I refer you to Canadian Art’s online review by Leah Sandals posted on February 13th. There is no question that the lasting stagnation of the Canada Council for the Arts budget represents a regression for those who rely on their funding programs with the increases in applications and rising living and production expenses.
What this campaign also represents is the arts community’s ability to work in unison, across disciplines, to communicate the importance of public arts funding whether in support of art production or in support of employment. This type of campaign also encourages artists to be confident in promoting the value of their activities to their local political representatives.
For this reason, I encourage members of the artist-run centres community to pursue this grassroots initiative by appropriating the material made available in our evolving, online advocacy toolkit. Initially produced by the Canadian Arts Coalition, and adapted by ARCA (in Word and PDF formats), the material is intended to facilitate setting up meetings with political representatives in order to raise awareness of artist-run centres and their essential role in the community, so that we can work in tandem at strengthening public funding for the arts.