January 21, 2015
On January 20, the Canada Council for the Arts held its Annual Public Meeting. Director and CEO, Simon Brault spoke about how investing public money in the arts must be for all the public, that public funding must be “explained, justified, debated and defended” and the impacts must be talked about. Over the coming years, the Council wants to increase and enhance the presence of Canadian artists throughout the world, improve the working and living conditions of artists, give better support to Aboriginal creators, and give all Canadian citizens more access to artistic excellence.
The Council is re-examining the 142 grant programs it currently manages to significantly simplify them and reduce their numbers. The aim, over the next 18 months, is to reduce the programs to less than ten major national, non-disciplinary programs that cover all fields of artistic practice and its outreach in Canada and the world, and that take into account the specific issues of current arts disciplines and emerging art forms.
As well, the Council is creating a specific program for Aboriginal arts. The end result will be “nothing less than an entirely new funding model that will steer the course of the Canada Council and influence the practice and outreach of the arts both in our communities and on the international scene for years to come”.
Brault stated that the intention is not to modify the actual allocations of funding or to destabilize arts organizations, but to create a new baseline to fund Council's priorities with new investments by the government. The Council is also optimizing the fundamental work of peer committees and the other programs it administers that give Canadians more access to art in their daily lives, and that give Canada a greater influence on the world scene.
To view the full speech, visit the Canada Council for the arts website.