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Posts Tagged ‘manifesto’

Last Friday, Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre), Chair of Toronto’s Economic Development Committee announced the Creative Capitals Initiative – a plan to design the next generation of Toronto’s Culture Plan. The existing plan was launched in 2003 and contains 63 recommendations, one of which was to increase Toronto’s per capita arts investment to $25 by 2008. At the current $18 per Torontonian, progress has been lagging on this front and on many other targets, though according to the City, 87% of the original recommendations have been addressed. Today, 10 years after the first plan began taking shape, it’s clearly time to reflect on how Toronto will take its next steps in fostering an active and healthy cultural scene, raising its profile as one of the world’s foremost creative capitals.

The Creative Capital Initiative will be headed by several heavy hitters from both the arts and business sectors. Co-Chairs include Robert Foster (CEO Capital Canada), Karen Kain (Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada), and former federal Cabinet Minister Jim Prentice (Vice-Chairman, CIBC). They will be joined by an Advisory Council which includes: Nichole Anderson (President and CEO, Business for the Arts), Cameron Bailey (Co-Director, Toronto International Film Festival Group), Claire Hopkinson (Executive Director, Toronto Arts Council), Che Kothari (Executive Director, Manifesto Community Projects) and Gail Lord (Co-President, Lord Cultural Resources). The Committee will also be advised by Richard Florida (author and Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute) and Jeff Melanson (Special Advisor to the Mayor – Arts & Culture).

Invited focus groups and public consultations will be taking place throughout February with plans to present recommendations at the May 2011 meeting of the Economic Development Committee. Consultations will include a wide scope of issues such as cultural infrastructure, direct investment in artists and arts organizations, digital media, sustainable spaces and cultural attractions, among others.

Given the absence of an arts platform in Ford’s mayoral campaign, this initiative is a welcome invitation to participate in the shaping of a new future for the sector. Developing the next generation of the culture plan was a recommendation made by ArtsVote and other factions of the arts sector during the election campaign, and we are wise to take full advantage of the opportunity to participate in this process. Renewal within the ranks of City Council also affords us an opportunity to reinforce other key recommendations (such as new investment in direct grants to artists and arts organizations) as well as bring to the table new ideas, offer new solutions and consider new initiatives that will help make Toronto’s arts and culture scene more vibrant and sustainable. Strategically positioning arts and culture as a key economic driver and social asset will help us assert our value in wider city-building agendas, ensuring that arts and culture are an essential investment in Toronto’s success.

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The Toronto Arts Foundation’s Annual Mayoral Arts Awards Lunch was held at Arcadian Court earlier today. It was a lively crowd full of notable artists, politicians, and arts supporters from all corners of the city. Special guests included Provincial Minister Kathleen Wynn, MPs Carolyn Bennett and Gerard Kennedy, City Budget Chief Shelley Carroll, Pan Am Games Chair Roger Garland, United Way President Susan McIsaac, Toronto City Summit Alliance Chair John Tory, architects A. J. Diamond and Bruce Kuwabara, Thomas Payne, and Mitchell Cohen from Daniels Corporation, Randy Dalton from the Dalton Company and Minto’s Chris Sheriff-Scott ; arts luminaries Martha Burns, Eric Peterson, Paul Gross, Alexander Neef, Lata Pada, Veronica Tennant, TIFF’s Cameron Bailey and community artsnotables Che Kothari, Liz Forsberg and Ruth Howard; and noted arts supporters Michael M. Koerner, Jim Fleck and Avie Bennett, among others.

The crowd and Arcadian Court

Award recipients were:
Arts for Youth Award: Manifesto
TorontoArts & Business Award: BMO Financial Group
RBCEmerging Artist Award: filmmaker Jamie Travis (shout out to finalists composer Constantine Caravassilis and director, actor and producer Michael Wheeler!)
Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition: Jose Ortega, Artistic Director of Lula Music and Arts Centre and the live music Lula Lounge.
William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life: Mallory Gilbert, former General Manager of Tarragon Theatre

Eric Peterson

This was outgoing Mayor David Miller’s final arts awards and he was also honoured with a commissioned poem read by Eric Peterson. The ceremony featured a special performance by Juno Award-winning jazz singer/songwriter Molly Johnson and a performance by the youth ensemble Samba Kidz.

Congratulations to the Toronto Arts Foundation and all of the deserving winners and finalists!

Host Jian Ghomeshi

TAC's fabulous Executive Director Claire Hopkinson

Mayor David Miller with Eric Peterson

Mayor Miller's address

Molly Johnson

Mayor Miller et moi

CBC's Matt Galloway

In the taxi, returning Jian to the CBC

The exceptional team at the Toronto Arts Council

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The Candidates

It’s T minus 21 days until Torontonians elect a new collection of civic leaders to run our city, including a new Mayor. Civic election campaigns are the longest among governments – a whopping 10 months (as compared to a legal minimum of 36 days federally and 28 days provincially in Ontario). By Election Day on October 25th, mayoral hopefuls will have participated in a bazillion or so debates on issues ranging from TTC to taxation, the environment and immigration.

But not all debates are created equal. On September 29th, thousands turned up and tuned into the Mayoral Arts Debate at the Art Gallery of Ontario, hosted by Business for the Arts, in partnership with ArtsVote, the Toronto Arts Council and Manifesto. Organizers were already turning people away 10 minutes after the doors opened, sending Toronto voters home to watch the debate online. The level of interest and participation from Toronto’s electorate sent a clear message to hopeful candidates that Torontonians value public support for the arts and want to know that their civic leaders will deliver.

The Voters

Perhaps another reason for the lively and curious crowd is that arts-voters remain largely undecided about who’s name they will put their X beside on Election Day. On October 4th, ArtsVote released a final set of grades for leading Mayoral candidates, completing their Report Card that provides an arts-focused assessment for every registered candidate running for election across all 44 Wards. What the Report Card revealed is that when it comes to electing an arts-friendly Mayor, the only thing that remains clear is that Rob Ford is not our guy. However, when it comes to the other front-runners, little divides them in terms of the quality of their plans, commitments and vision for the arts in our city.

So, you care about the arts, but you don’t know how to vote on October 25th? Read on for some help in untangling the Smither-ross-alone dilemma…

George Smitherman

Option 1: Vote for Smitherman.
If you’re inclined to vote with your head, an X beside George Smitherman’s name will be a strategic and intelligent decision. At this stage of the game, he’s the most likely candidate to beat Rob Ford – the candidate promoting more fundraising dinners instead of more public arts investment (need I say more). Smitherman is an experienced politician and has a strong, comprehensive and realistic arts platform. In fact, he was the only mayoral candidate to receive an ‘A’ grade from ArtsVote. The downside? His arts commitments, while realistic and deliverable, lack a longer-term vision. Plus, who wants a mayor who’s known for his temper tantrums? Favourite Arts Debate Quote: “I don’t just know where the bathroom is at city hall, I’ve used it!”

Joe Pantalone

Option 2: Vote for Pantalone.
If you want to vote with your heart, an X beside Joe Pantalone’s name is a vote for the city you know and love. He’s a 29-year city council veteran with a long and proven track record of supporting the arts. He’s the only candidate not advocating for tax freezes or cuts – a policy stance that will undoubtedly impact the potential for new public investment in any area. The downside? Progress on arts issues at city hall has been painfully slow and Pantalone didn’t impress at the Arts Debate with a new and improved vision. And, if Pantalone doesn’t gain more support before October 25th, a vote for anyone other than Ford’s closest contender will be less than strategic. Favourite Arts Debate Quote: “Toronto is said to be the 4th best city in the world to experience culture – I think we’re better than that.”

Rocco Rossi

Option 3: Vote for Rossi.
If you’re the bold and risk-taking type – vote with your cojones (in the non-gender-specific kind of way) and put your X beside Rocco Rossi’s name. Rossi burst out of the gate sprinting in July with a bold and forward-thinking arts platform. He’s the candidate willing to go the extra mile and commit to making Toronto Canada’s leader in per capita arts investment, promising to reach $25 in the first year, and match Montreal’s current level of $33 by the end of 4 years. The downside? While he outlines how he will achieve the first $25, it’s unclear how he will make further progress. His lack of political experience makes voting for him a potentially risky prospect. Favourite Arts Debate Quote: “Arts and culture decisions are made in a ghetto. Until we build and understand its links to economic development, we’re missing the boat.”

Rob Ford

For the record, Rob Ford received a D- from ArtsVote, which is actually a better score than the F he received from racial justice group the Colour of Change Network for his position on social policy issues… He was booed several times during the debate. Favourite quote: (stated in his closing remarks) “I know you won’t miss me.”

A final word of advice: If you’re among Toronto’s undecided voters, don’t let that stop you from getting out to the polls. Stay informed and choose the Toronto you want. Whether you vote with your brain or your heart, your inner rebel or your inner strategist, on October 25th NOT voting is the only choice that you don’t want to make.

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The summer has come and gone. Fall activities are in full swing, including Toronto’s election campaign! This year, the Mayor’s job is up for grabs and candidates are on the ground and in the news in full force auditioning for the part. Have you been paying attention?

On Wednesday, September 29th, Business for the Arts, in partnership with ArtsVote, the Toronto Arts Council, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Manifesto, will be hosting the Toronto Mayoral Arts Debate. It’s FREE and if you are a voting Torontonian who cares about the arts, you MUST be there! (It’s going to be fun, I promise.)

Here are the details:

Toronto Mayoral Arts Debate
With Toronto’s major mayoral candidates
John Tory, Moderator
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Doors Open: 6pm
Debate: 7:00-8:30pm
Walker Court, AGO, 317 Dundas Street

And, here are a couple of other things you can do in the spirit of raising the profile of the arts this election.

Send your photo to info@artsvotetoronto.ca with the message ‘I am an artist/arts worker/arts supporter and I vote!’. Here’s mine:

Here are some others for inspiration.

Lastly, have your say in who will be the wild card candidate at the Mayoral Arts Debate. Currently, the four candidates who are confirmed are: Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman and Sarah Thomson. Rob Ford is also anticipated to participate. ArtsVote is hosting a poll to choose an additional Mayoral candidate to participate in the Debate. Click here for details on how to vote.

See you at the polls on October 25th!

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