The City of Guelph announced today that our fair berg has been chosen to participate in 2011/12 artsVest Ontario program, which is put on by Business for the Arts, a national non-profit that seeks to inspire co-operation between local business and artists. It must be a pretty big deal for the City to put out a press release, but I would point out that if the City wanted to do more for artists, maybe they shouldn't have by-law officers shut down exhibits at local arts galleries. More on that after the jump.
GUELPH, ON, July 4, 2011 – The City of Guelph is excited to be one of only five communities selected to participate in the 2011/12 artsVest Ontario program.
The program will offer free sponsorship training to help Guelph’s cultural organizations build mutually beneficial partnerships with the business community. Cultural organizations will also be invited to apply to artsVest for a total of $50K in matching incentive grants. When matched with sponsorship from the local business community, artsVest has the potential to flow more than $100,000 in funding to Guelph’s cultural sector.
“We see great value in this program as a means of further strengthening our municipal cultural planning and development,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge. “With the support of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and the Guelph Arts Council, we can develop valuable partnerships to connect business and arts in our community.”
“From a business perspective we see a huge benefit to supporting arts and culture in Guelph,” said Lloyd Longfield, President and CAO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce.
Guelph’s participation in the artsVest program builds on a series of cultural capacity-building initiatives launched by the City in the last year. Some of them include the Artscape Creative Spaces project, a Public Art Policy, and support of Canada’s Culture Days activities in Guelph this fall.
“We know that artsVest has been a transformative experience for many other communities and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to bring this program to Guelph to help vitalize our community’s cultural assets,” said Colleen Clack, the City’s General Manager of Arts Culture and Entertainment. The City established the Arts, Culture & Entertainment division to consolidate and advance cultural planning and initiatives, and to bring together the resources, programming and management of River Run Centre, Sleeman Centre, Guelph Museums and the new Market Square.
artsVest Guelph will launch officially at City Hall in Guelph on July 14 at 5 p.m.
artsVest is a flagship initiative of Canada’s Business for the Arts, a national non-profit organization of business leaders dedicated to increasing partnerships between business and the arts. The program sparks business sponsorship of arts and culture and bolsters municipal cultural planning.
Speaking as the chairperson for a local artist run centre, anything that helps the local arts community in terms of money or support is good news. But reading over the press release again, I can't help but notice the emphasis on government venues and operatives like the River Run and the Museum. Both worthy organizations, but what about Ed Video, or Kazoo for example.
Speaking of Ed Video, it was home to an art show called Unknown Unknowns by Toronto artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borin. Even I can't pretend to fully understand the piece, but it was a commentary on today's heightened surveillance, which involved constructing a room within a room at the Ed Video Gallery and the placement of four, foreboding black servers inside. The show got some encouraging press in Canada Art magazine, and was an instant success for the Centre, but shortly after the article, by-law stopped by and said that the room wasn't up to code and had to come down. I think we can all agree that the room inside the room wasn't up to code, but then again, Ed Video wasn't renting the space and having someone bunk there. It was an art project.
Between that, and last year's fine-a-thon against arts groups and artists trying to promote their shows and concerts through posters, the City of Guelph hasn't shown a lot of love to the arts, despite protestations to the contrary. There's also the fact that the Arts Platform, an endeavour by several arts groups and artists to create their own multi-purpose space in the city is pretty much left to its own devices and I think we have a pattern of double standards happening here. Still, $50,000 is a nice start I guess.