Arts setting the agenda
For the past 17 years, ArtsVote has been working to mobilize the arts and culture community to make the most of their democratic power by voting for candidates who support the cultural sector in the City of Toronto.
The ArtsVote committee is comprised of artists and cultural workers in Toronto, each representing a different discipline. Their work has provided a sector-wide voice on key arts and culture issues; and their approach has been to educate candidates about the arts in their particular ward, and the challenges of the sector as a whole.
To foster the discussion, ArtsVote today outlined three priorities they believe will contribute to a better Toronto.
1. Toronto leads Canada in arts and cultural activity. It should lead the country in per-capita cultural investment, starting with an immediate increase in investment to $25 per citizen. Toronto currently invests $18 per Torontonian in arts and culture, outperformed by Vancouver and Montreal.
2. Toronto needs to position itself as a truly creative city and global cultural capital. Toronto needs to commit to a new generation of the Culture Plan, with clear targets for the next decade and new investments to reach these targets.
3. The arts are a catalyst in economic development, tourism and civic participation and should be at the centre of all of the city’s strategies and planning. Toronto must include culture in infrastructure planning, and take a leadership role to leverage private and government support.
In addition to releasing the priorities, ArtsVote continues to work on its Report Card that will grade candidates and challengers on their support for the arts.
According to ArtsVote organizers, this has been a particularly interesting campaign thus far. With all new mayoral candidates, and with many incumbent councillors choosing not to run, the field is wide open. Already, several candidates (new and old) appear ready and willing to learn about arts and culture in their ward.
It will be interesting to watch candidates respond to this articulate, artful call-to-action.