Toronto artists plead for fund fairness from Ottawa

Written and  posted by Metro News: www.metronews.ca/news/toronto/2016/10/24/local-artists-plead-for-fund-fairness.html

About 160 artists from across the country will gather at Parliament Hill Tuesday for Arts Day

From left: Ben Donoghue, Robin Sokoloski, Kevin Ormsby and Charles Smith are among 160 artists heading to Ottawa this weekend to advocate for more – and more equal – arts funding.

EDUARDO LIMA/ METRO

From left: Ben Donoghue, Robin Sokoloski, Kevin Ormsby and Charles Smith are among 160 artists heading to Ottawa this weekend to advocate for more – and more equal – arts funding.

Toronto artists will join their peers in Ottawa Tuesday to demand fairer access to federal arts funding.

About 160 artists from across the country will gather at Parliament Hill for this year’s Arts Day, where they’ll discuss the federal government’s role in creating a more diverse arts community.

“We’re bringing an equity-seeking message to Ottawa,” said Kevin Ormsby, a Toronto-based dance teacher and choreographer.

Ormsby said not all federal arts grants are created equal, and most of the money is channeled to larger arts companies while grassroots organizations continue to struggle.

“These small artistic ventures are actually the ones creating an impact to our local communities, and we need to show that by allowing them more access to grants,” he said.

While there’s still much to be improved, artists won’t just be critical when they arrive en masse on Parliament Hill; they’ll also be grateful.

The Liberal government announced a commitment to double funding for the Canadian Council for the Arts, promising to invest up to $550 million in the organization over the next five years.

“This kind of forward thinking is something we haven’t seen in a long time, particularly in the previous government,” said Andrew Lamb, artistic director of Toronto’s Roseneath Theatre.

The performance organization specializes in theatre for young audiences, where they tour schools in Canada and the United States playing pieces that tackle issues affecting children and youth – such as sexual assaults, drug and alcohol abuse, bullying, diversity and mental health.

They’ve been reaching up to 100,000 kids per year, but with access to more funds, Lamb hopes the organization can increase the reach of its programming.

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