Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Theatre Today - Gone Tomorrow?

We all Win with Candidates that Support Increased Arts Funding

Toronto - During this federal election, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) is urging all party candidates to commit $300 million annually in permanent funding to The Canada Council for the Arts.  This represents just 0.2% of the federal government’s projected 2003/2004 total program spending budget - but the impact on quality of
life for Canadians would be hundredfold.

For $8 per Canadian per year - less than the cost of a movie ticket - performing and visual arts organizations would be able to keep admission prices accessible to more Canadians, especially youth. And when communities can access the arts, we all win.

Cultural theorists and economists, including Max Wyman (The Defiant Imagination) and Richard Florida (The Creative Class) have provided numerous proofs of the ability of the arts to contribute to the economic viability and social stability of our communities.  Skilled, mobile

workers choose to live in vibrant communities, and these communities have competed most effectively in the past and are expected to continue to do so - which makes quality of life issues increasingly important in the global economy.

Government funding to culture has decreased over the past decade, despite a $26 billion per year contribution to the economy. An infusion of $75 million in new funds to The Council was implemented over a three-year period under the Tomorrow Starts Today program through the Department of Canadian Heritage and ended in 2003/2004.  The renewal of this funding is uncertain and puts The Council, who provides critical multi-year operational funding to non-profit arts organizations, in a precarious position once again.  It puts the theatre community, who rely on 20% of The Council’s limited funds, in fear of closures. 

“Corporate giving has grown slightly in the theatre community due to the monumental efforts of administrators but has not replaced government funding to previous levels. Culture and recreation, together, received only 5% of the total donations made by Canadians in 2000.  Most arts organizations cannot afford more than one, if any, fundraising staff. If communities are to flourish and grow Canada’s reputation as a world-class country with high standards of living, increased government support to the arts is necessary.”  Andy McKim, PACT President.

“PACT has been in discussions with Member Theatres and arts service organizations, and believes that a permanent increase in annual funds to The Canada Council for the Arts in the amount of $300 million is necessary to begin to address the operating needs of not just the

professional theatre community, but all arts disciplines. It would enable our Theatres to plan, both creatively and financially, for the future.” Lucy White, PACT Executive Director.

The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres is a member-driven organization that serves as the collective voice of professional Canadian theatres.  For the betterment of Canadian theatre, PACT provides leadership, national representation and a variety of programs and practical assistance to member companies, enabling members to do

their own creative work.

For more information, please call: Kirsten Kamper, Communications Manager, 416-595-6455 x12

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