Friday, February 15, 2008

The Arts: London funding vs. Windsor’s Creativity

london arts budget

Contrasting the way that London contributes to the the arts will ultimately address funding deal with funding. We are currently seeing across the board cuts in the Libraries, Art Gallery, Arts Council. Meanwhile we watch Arts funding in London Ontario increase, not only by the city but also by the Private sector. Further on this post, I’ll show examples of where Windsor’s creativity trumps London

Municipal revenue is $951,000, Windsor’s contribution is 2/3 of that amount

If it gets final approval later this month, council's vote to contribute $160,000 to a recently established public art fund could usher in a new era and reinforce London's future as a creative city. The Mainstreet London Association paid $200,000 for the public art that is the multi colored tree art downtown
In Windsor we see arts funding significantly reduced, even the Capital Theater dispute has funding as its root cause.

I am not one to simply want my tax dollars thrown at the arts, but we have to acknowledge what other cities are doing to find best practices. Secondly, there are ample opportunities to contribute to the arts with little or no cost by the city. One source I found that has not seen a dollar spent on Windsor is

One thing I see advantageous for Windsor over London is the fact that we seem to do things for a fraction of the cost of London. A couple of examples include downtown security camera’s up costing $30,000 per year while London’s program cost $200,000 or London’s Ambassador program spent $51,000 for a promotional video, while the DWBIA was able to make a much better promotional video for far less cost.\

Right Now, Londons’ struggling TAP (The Arts Project) cost hundreds of thousands while local artist Christian Aldo his own version of an arts incubator by creating Galleries displaying the work of local artists on Pelissier simply by working with building owners and artists with no other assets than his colourful and dynamic character. This initiative deserves its own attention and kudo's to Mr. Aldo

Before she left, Judith Veresuk proposed the idea of cladding the stark white new planters downtown with mosaic tile art. Implementing this public arts partnership with business could be a testament to Mrs. Veresuk downtown efforts.
Think of Cartunes, businesses could sponsor the winners from an art competition to decorate the planters like they did with Cartunes, except this time they would get far more than a one year bang for their art donation. We would have a permanent display of their contribution.

Secondly, the DWBIA has already committed $100,000 additional to maiden lane streetscape to turn it into a “European” style road with the plumbing infrastructure for a fountain in the center. No funds have been allocated or raised for the actual fountain. The DWBIA needs to come up with terms of reference and criteria for this fountain design. After that a design competition should also be conducted for this fountain to become another proud piece of public art.

Separately, the best thing Windsor could do for the arts is to coordinate grant writing between the different groups. This position was filled by Ed Agnew before but there needs to be a “311” type program to access this moneys.


dave said...

I have always liked the idea of fountains. Windsor should have a lot more of them in the area of the core. On some major intersections, along the water, in a few other parks...It not only beautifies an area but it also brings a little class to the city.

BBS said...

What is the role of the Windsor Endowment for the Arts in Windsor?

From their history page, it seems they were started with seed money from Council ($250,000 over three years as a matching grant). Is this the $160,000 you are referring to, or is this something different?

Sporto said...

I'd be interested to see how the cities we would like to model Windsor after (Tacoma maybe) have handled their contribution to the public realm, including arts. What would those pie charts look like? All the Arts just being one piece, but also peices like - Utilities, Roads, Transit, civic buildnigs and parks. How would we compare? Is it worth looking at? How would we measure up in getting the formula right?

Mark Boscariol said...

I heard that Pittsburg has a great model for an arts and business council.

I think may cities have evolved their arts councils to arts and business councils.

Lets see what our Arts Council does now that they have new leadership. I'm anxious to see their new strategic plan and direction

Anonymous said...

There are collaborative art's grants available so groups can piggyback with one another.
It's a great idea and, one that can forward arts initiatives in the city.

Urbanrat said...

Just found this:

Town of Caraquet Designated 2009 Cultural Capital of Canada

""Caraquet is a town which recognizes the role arts and culture play in improving citizens' quality of life and increasing economic development," said Minister Verner. "Caraquet is proposing creative activities which highlight its Acadian heritage and encourage the entire country to be part of the town's artistic and cultural development."

Maybe we can learn from a town of 50,000 and what they are doing right.

The arts either through education and promotion have always been a hard sell in Windsor, we just don't have it, in the numbers that we need to get this city moving upward. We have to get them young and keep them here.

Anonymous said...

We have always had them's the keeping them that's tough. There has to be political will to spark the arts.
We fund the arts with bingo and casino revenues. What's wrong with that picture?
Unless we learn to sustain the arts properly- it will remain stagnant.