140 Arts Organizations received funding ~ Only 5 are in Northern Ontario

Lake Huron shoreline

On March 2nd, 2021, The Ontario government announced that it is supporting the arts sector with a one-time investment of $25 million to help artists and arts organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic, remain solvent and prepare for a time when they can fully re-open their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences.

Details were provided  by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, whose announcement stated that, through the funding, $24 million will be provided to 140 arts organizations. While the announcement is welcome news to the arts industry, only 5 arts organizations are found north of Barry, Ontario.

The 5 northern Ontario arts organizations who received funding are:

  • Carrefour francophone de Sudbury – $34,45
  • Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival – $62,414
  • De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Storytellers – Wikwemikong – $265,473
  • Magnus Theatre Company – Thunder Bay – $135,228
  • Weengushk Film Institute – M’Chigeeng – $50,000 (Manitoulin Island)

Superior Media reached out to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries to ascertain why there is an apparent disparity between funding for arts organizations in the northern portion of the province.

Superior Media received the following statement from the Ministry.

“Funding amounts were determined using a formula based on the amount of their Ontario Arts Council (OAC) operating grant level. This approach ensures the timely and transparent release of funds. Core organizations are delivering on their goals and those of the OAC and have been previously well-assessed on two equally weighted criteria:

  • Artistic leadership and quality, including financial and other opportunities provided to artists
  • Public impact, including community engagement and effective management practices

This announcement included $1 million, which will provide much-needed support directly to artists and creators from across the province.

More information on this, including eligibility requirements and application deadlines, will be available soon on the OAC website.

In 2019-2020, Northern Ontario artists and arts organizations received almost $4 million in support through the Ontario Arts Council.

OAC also offers a multi-disciplinary Northern Arts program that provides additional funding opportunities to applicants from the northeast, Northwest and the Far North through its annual allocation. This program will be offered in 2021-22.

Organizations are encouraged to contact the Ontario Arts Council directly to learn more about available supports.”

Minister Lisa MacLeod stated, “Arts organizations make an important contribution to our province, providing thousands of jobs for musicians, writers, painters, actors, dancers, stagehands and the many others working behind the scenes. They entertain us, but they also play an important role in the mental health and well-being of Ontarians and an equally important role in the province’s economic and social recovery. Providing the help they need is a critical part of our plan to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, while laying the foundation for a strong economic recovery.”

Ontario Arts Council Chair Rita Davies said, “We are honoured that Minister MacLeod has asked the Ontario Arts Council to administer this special initiative. While the pandemic has hurt so many in this province, we are grateful the government has recognized the arts sector as one of the most severely affected. The announcement also underscores the essential contribution the arts will provide to the economic and social recovery of Ontario communities.”

This initiative is part of the government’s 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, the next phase of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

To learn more about grants and funding opportunities, visit The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture website.