Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Canada Council outlines trends it says are compelling new funding model

In advance of the unveiling of details of its new funding model in June, the Canada Council for the Arts has published a preliminary document outlining some of the trends and issues it has identified in consultations. 

The Council announced in January that there is to be a major overhaul, reducing 142 discipline-specific categories to fewer than 10 broad, national non-disciplinary programs, but without a reduction in over all funding. The new model will be announced in June and will be implemented  by 2017 

Among the trends and issues is says it has heard about:
  1. The need for flexibility and compressing the wait times between application and awards
  2. The need for interdisciplinarity and a more open-ended grant process
  3. A need to respond to alternatives to the formal not-for-profit arts organizations
  4. More engagement with the public and promoting the public profile of the arts
  5. The need to adapt to rapid technological change
  6. Increasing access to international opportunities
  7. Responding to diversity, particularly with aboriginal artists and young creators
  8. The precarious nature of the economy for the art sector



Blogger Felicia Allen said...

Reducing the 142 discipline-specific categories to fewer than 10 broad, national non-disciplinary programs is only so that the Canada Council Of The Arts will have less work to do on the same annual staff and operations budget of $28.4 million. Presumably, the next big change will be bigger salaries to justify less work.

There is no justification for the fact that Canada's western provinces fare terribly in grants awarded compared to its eastern counterparts, Ontario and Quebec. The four combined western provinces - BC, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta - received in total in 2014 $38.4 million in arts funding.

In the same year, Quebec and Ontario received $92.7 million ($45.7 million and $45 million respectively). All of the four western provinces combined received LESS than either Ontario (the home of Canada Council For The Arts) and Quebec.

What is even more astonishing, is that ONLY 949 applications from
the entire country were first-time grant recipients (artists and arts
organizations). What does that say? It says that the Canada Council For The Arts is elitist.

There has to be a major upheaval before the bureaucracy that dominates the CCFTA is shaken to its foundation. There is no point in the public funding the Arts to the tune of $189 million when only artists in two provinces in Eastern Canada have the most benefit - Canada has artists in quite a few other provinces that don't need to be side-stepped. The CCFTA's track record for funding new applicants is embarrassing - only 949 in a full year from all over Canada.

CBC which has offices all over Canada is proably the next best candidate for taking over the distribution of arts funding. After all, there are CBC offices Canada-wide and CBC has a pulse on Canada's cultural scene. CBC is in the business of promoting Canadian culture and the public deserves better use of the $189 million that it supports CCFTA with annually than the elitist goals of the current CCFTA.

It will be interesting to see what the new CCFTA salaries will be now that Simon Brault, the CEO, is launching his 'simplified' grant program agenda.

Stay tuned.

6:39 pm  

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