Last week, the Ontario government announced 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 visitors and audiences.
The funding will be provided to 140 arts organizations across the province. Those organizations that received this funding are also all recipients of the Ontario Arts Council’s (OAC’s) operating grants with annual budgets of $1-million or more. Most organizations received the equivalent of 100% of their operating grant amount, but others received as low as 88% and as high as 106%. This funding is separate from the operating grants that these organizations will receive from the OAC.
In the Hamilton area, the investment from the province equals just over $750,000 divided amongst the following organizations:
- Art Gallery of Burlington– $24,833
- Art Gallery of Hamilton– $234,837
- Brott Music Festival– $69,569
- Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra– $111,114
- McMaster Museum of Art– $49,350
- Theatre Aquarius– $261,461
“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,” said Minister Lisa MacLeod in announcing the funding. “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.”
An additional $1-million will be made available to artists and creators through the Ontario Arts Council, with details, including eligibility requirements being made available in the near future.
“We are honoured that Minister MacLeod has asked the Ontario Arts Council to administer this special initiative,” said OAC Chair Rita Davies. “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 today 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.