It’s been a little more than a year since the last consultation by the Canada Council for the Arts as part of its review of operating grants under the “change” agenda, and we’re being consulted again. This time, the survey (closing on February 11th) focuses on the New Funding Model (NFM) and on strategic priorities for 2016-2021 to reinforce Council’s double mandate: support for artists and art production, and support for the development of art appreciation and enjoyment.
Will the promise of new funds to double the Canada Council’s budget and the NFM spell opportunities for artist-run centres? Is this new round of consultation a renewed occasion to demonstrate how diversity, creativity, opportunity, engagement - values expressed by Council Chair Pierre Lassonde in his recent public address - are core values also modeled by artist-run centres? Renamed Artist-driven Organizations, or ADOs in the NFM, artist-run centres continue to play an essential role in the wider visual arts sector while receiving only 10% of overall public funding versus public galleries and museums (see study here). Since 2007, the Canada Council’s Parliamentary appropriation has essentially flat-lined. In fact, per capita spending is slightly below 1990 levels at $5.34 per capita in 2010, down from $5.57 per capita in 1990 (CCA Strategic Plan, 2010).
As Council shifts emphasis toward multi-year project funding, ARCA can’t help but worry that it may come at the expense of core funding, and by extension, decent work conditions and wages for thousands of cultural workers, artists and other art professionals across the country. Running multi-year projects requires infrastructure, and dealing with the threat of dissolving or reinventing it every few years only promotes precarity.
L'arca in the Loop is season 2 of our e-newsletter, and will feature content reflecting a “good-enough” portrait of our ever evolving, artist-run landscape, including stories and news from the membership. A chronicle featuring publications added to the e-artexte platform aims to alert readers and booksellers to content that may not currently benefit from commercial promotion and distribution.
Because the first issue coincides with Council’s strategic plan consultation survey, I’m sharing a few messages distilled from a longer brief reflecting some of the more pressing and long-standing needs expressed by your representatives at the November 15th 2015 ARCA board meeting; you may want to relay these messages, and more, in your own responses to be submitted by February 11th.
Anne Bertrand, Director
> what's happening in our network?
The following messages reflect priorities expressed last November by members of the ARCA board; ARCA is working on retrofitting these priorities into Council's survey themes, with the hope they will align with their priorities for 2016-2021. Please respond to the survey before February 11.
Increase core funding to improve the wages and work conditions of cultural workers and freelance workers, who are often artists;
Increase recurring core funding, especially for artist-run centres who have been operating on multi-year funding for many years;
Increase core funding to centres with expertise in publishing and theoretical or discursive activities;
Offer periodicals in the visual arts the option to apply to the Artist-driven Organizations component of the Explore and Create program;
Increase core funding to enable support for outreach and art education programs;
Establish peer juries in both official languages;
Facilitate organizational transitions by offering senior cultural workers dignified exit strategies;
Support ongoing incentives to promote diversity in ARCs with capacity building and mentoring programs;
Support director/curators travel for substantial research and professional development and renewal;
Support expedient access for French/English/ASL translation and other aboriginal languages where applicable.
e-addition > ARCs art publishing, to download, or buy!
Download/read/enjoy Hamilton Artists Inc.'s most recent publications found among the latest 20 additions to the e-artexte digital repository of contemporary Canadian publications.
HUNTER, Andrew. Into the Wild. Hamilton, Ont.: Hamilton Artists Inc., 2015;
CHITTY, Elizabeth and PATTERSON, Andrew-James and COCHRANE, Shannon. Berenicci Hershorn : Here. Hamilton, Ont.: Hamilton Artists Inc., 2014.
> interviews, videos, quotes
Clive Robertson - An Annotated Bibliography in Real Time:
Performance Art in Quebec and Canada
A research exhibition presented at Artexte from April 30 - June 20, 2015 and
from September 3 – October 24, 2015. > Info
> studies, stats, letters
[Email sent to my Member of Parliament, and his assistant]
I hope there’s still time to submit recommendations in the context of the current pre-budget consultation.
I belong to a very large Canadian arts community who, in past years, has taken steps to better articulate the important contribution of artists and cultural workers to their local, Canadian and global economies. Recent studies demonstrate how art and its derived activities produce much salaried employment in the middle class and support a whole sub-economy of freelance workers (in the South-West of Montreal and elsewhere). The presence of artists in a community is also considered an indicator of health.
Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference wishes to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for its support. / La Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés reconnaît l'appui financier du Conseil des arts du Canada.