imageLately, I’ve been in a lot of meetings with passionate, creative folks who all want the same ends: A rich and vibrant arts culture in their cities and schools.

This is good. This is needed.

But we seem to have very different ideas about how that can happen.

The participants in these meetings wanted more public funding for the arts community.

Of course we do.

But I think there’s a misunderstanding of how that works…

Funding doesn’t create a vibrant arts community.

A vibrant arts community attracts funding.

The Funding Myth

Artists can’t wait for city councillors and politicians and private commercial monies to fund our arts community.

Artists need to create events and gatherings and shows and expositions and markets and happenings for themselves.

Do it because you love it and because you want to share your art and connect with your community.

  • Attend shows and art events in your city.
  • Network with the artists and creatives that attend – talk, share ideas and passions and desires… you WILL connect with like-minded people who also want to start a studio tour or an art in the park event or pop up gallery in the downtown core.
  • Try things out – some will fail. Some WILL be awesome.
  • Make something that connects to your community. We HAVE to be making art that communicates.
  • Ask for support from local businesses. Create an opportunity for increased traffic for their businesses and bottom line and they’ll be more likely to financially support art events.

Here’s a truth that we often don’t want to hear:

No one “has” to fund the arts –
even if it IS a good idea or the right thing to do.

Create a thriving community of artists connecting with their community in ways that matter and you’ll attract more interest in the funding.

The Queen St. example.

imageToronto’s Queen St. has repeatedly illustrated the progress of corporate and public money into previously cheap and dodgy areas that are transformed by the artists and creatives who live there.

The money has followed the artists west across Queen St. to Dufferin.

Anyone who’s been to the Gladstone lately can appreciate all the money flooding into the condo building and commercial properties popping up in the area.

The artists I know live in Parkdale.

Up until the late 90’s, Parkdale was in decline and offered cheap rents in dodgy neighbourhoods.image

Thanks to initiatives like PACC and Artscape the area has been transformed into rich and vibrant community.

Make art that matters. Connect to your community.

Next let’s talk about the artists’ responsibility to communicate and connect to the community.

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