Hello, Hamilton City Council: Arts is an investment, not an expense

Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

In today’s Spec, is an editorial encouraging more investment in the arts be made by Hamilton’s City Council. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we designed the mind-blowing, crazily-animated, Prezi-based presentation which Kristine Germann and Tim Potocic presented earlier this week to Hamilton’s elected officials on behalf of the Arts Advisory Commission’s Arts Funding Task Force.

Key points made in this presentation included:

1   92% of Hamiltonians believe culture ads to their quality of life.

2.  Access to artistic opportunities furthers Hamilton’s vision to be the best place to raise a child.

3.  The Commission’s City-wide strategy benefits every Ward. (Ironically, this proved to be the most difficult part of the presentation we designed. How do you show the impact of the arts throughout each and every one of the City’s 15 Wards? We did so with pictures representing a cross-section of the immense talent this City has on a ward-by-ward basis. What I thought at first would be a snap, turned out to be a ‘swamp’ given that we were swamped with images representing everything you could imagine (and a lot you can’t). My, oh my, this City’s got talent!

4.  Investment is inadequate and our funding system is broken, but it has the potential to be fixed. (A detailed dossier of solutions were offered up so nothing is left to chance).

5.  Arts funding is not a hand-out. It is an investment that has a measurable economic impact. Simply put—funding the arts grows our bottom line. (Impressive stats were presented from a wide variety of independent sources PROVING the huge ROI on arts funding).

and

6.  Municipal investment is the catalyst for further funding from federal and provincial programs as well as private sector participation and support.

Kristine and Tim contributed mightily to this presentation, but kudos must be shared with Tricia LeClair, Josefa Radman and Carrie Brooks-Joiner, all of whom are deserving of praise. It was an honour and a privilege to work along side such an impressive and talented troupe.

I just hope the City does the right thing.

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Here’s The Spectator’s excellent editorial…

The Spectator’s view: The case for more money in local arts grants

It’s never wrong for city council to do due diligence, especially before committing to spending more tax dollars. That’s how we interpret this week’s decision to get a report from staff before agreeing to increase spending from $2 million to $3 million on supporting local arts and artists. But once the due diligence is done, council should accept the recommendations put forth in a task force study to change the way arts grants are distributed and spend more overall. Hamilton spends about $3.08 per capita on arts funding, compared to $10.10 in Ottawa and $7.26 in Winnipeg.City hall is not doing enough, which is ironic considering how important arts and artists are to the city’s revitalization. Spending more is entirely justifiable, especially since arts are an integral part of our brand.Howard Elliott

http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/3412086-the-spectator-s-view-the-case-for-more-money-in-local-arts-grants/

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