Press Release – Arts and Culture

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Ari on The Arts: Building a City that says Yes to real investment in Arts & Culture

(TORONTO – Aug 12, 2014) ~ Toronto mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind continued to address major civic policy areas with Ari on the Arts, a statement of his platform to support this vibrant and vital sector of Toronto’s community and economic fabric. This comes in advance of the Arts On the Ballot “reverse debate” on Tuesday, August 12th at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St. W. at Dovercourt); this innovative debate format will see mayoral candidates put forth questions to five keystone leaders of the Toronto arts community, moderated by Kathleen Sharpe of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.

“While other candidates brush off arts and culture with grandiose and cliched statements that demonstrate a total lack of understanding of the issues, I believe in building a city that says ‘Yes’ to truly nurturing this key thread in the fabric of our city,” says Goldkind. “That music festival Rob Ford talked about bringing after he went down to Austin has more or less fallen off his radar. Olivia Chow talks about turning Toronto into Austin when our music scene is already substantially larger than Austin’s – we simply haven’t created that identity around music. John Tory wants to bureaucratize with a Music Office. My arts & culture policy takes a holistic, city-wide view of the arts & culture community, rather than making it solely about branding and tourism.”

The key elements of Goldkind’s Arts & Culture community platform are:

  • Working to spread the wealth of arts and culture beyond the downtown core into suburban areas where lack of access to artistic resources and performance spaces are a major issue
  • Using creative funding sources to increase per capita arts & culture funding from its current $25 to $75; in Montreal, funding currently $55 for a considerably smaller city. Sources could include: hotel levies, an increased billboard tax, and dedicated development fees
  • Using examples such as the Bell Lightbox project as an inspiration to build more partnerships that integrate arts & culture spaces into community design & development.
  • Empowering organizations such as Artscape with a greater mandate to use or convert underutilized or derelict space for new artistic hubs
  • Engaging community leaders in under-serviced or isolated parts of Toronto in real dialogue to truly understand their unique challenges and needs; and how those differ from the more densely concentrated downtown arts scene
  • Simplifying and streamlining the process for obtaining permits to use city-owned parks and facilities, to encourage more culturally-diverse, arts-driven events
  • Working to dispel the stereotype of arts & culture as a sector that is dependent on government funding, when in fact it generates massive profits, exposure, goodwill and community benefits, and ensuring that the arts’ true economic value to the city is more accurately conveyed by our political leaders
  • Pushing the provincial government to properly fund arts programs in schools which have been decimated in recent years, and creatively engaging business and corporate sponsorship
  • Addressing the disparity in the promotion of music with other disciplines such as visual arts, fashion, theatre and dance, by increasing city support of festivals that feature these disciplines and access to artistic programs for young people

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