Awards, Collaborations, and New Funding for Disability Arts


All Together Again to Celebrate John McKellar
Arts Patron John McKellar received Business for the Arts’ prestigious Bovey Award on October 6 at the Carlu where Creative Trust joined the many grateful recipients of John’s generosity – which includes conceiving and producing All Together Now: Creative Trust’s October 27, 2003 gala launch, attended by 1,000 people at the Princess of Wales Theatre!

 

Beautiful Ottawa
Ottawa in September was breathtakingly beautiful. And having the chance to talk with about 25 local arts organizations was an exhilarating introduction to a community on the move. I was in town September 20 and 21 at the invitation of Peter Honeywell and the Council for the Arts in Ottawa, to give two workshops.

The mix of individuals from film, poetry, visual arts organizations, theatres, presenters and space providers was marked by their common desire to take control of their futures through collaborative action.

Each time I speak about the Creative Trust experience I learn more about the mix of leadership, trust, collaboration, and sharing that allowed us to launch a cooperative endowment fundraising campaign, a successful multi-year sustainability program, and intensive initiatives in developing audiences and facilities. At the core, our community decided to work together to solve problems – and seize opportunities – that were beyond the capacity of companies working alone.

Not surprisingly, the Ottawa community is facing many if not all the issues we faced in Toronto: the need to eliminate deficits and persistent cash flow problems and create financial stability; the desire to build healthier, more resilient organizations; the need to base continuing success on growing and committed audiences; and the need to create appropriate facilities to work in. Although our communities are distinct in context and composition, board issues, fundraising challenges, and concern about competition are common to both.

Arts organizations in Ottawa, like those in Toronto, also have a huge interest in making their work accessible and appealing to young people, and diversifying their audiences to reflect their city’s multicultural make-up.

Our two days of conversation were a great start, and the enthusiasm around the table bodes well for productive and creative problem-solving and collaboration.

 

New Funding and Focus On Disability and Deaf Arts at the Canada Council
With the release of its first major study of disability and Deaf arts in Canada, and the announcement that disability arts organizations are now eligible for three-year capacity building funding through the Equity Office, the Canada Council for the Arts has signaled an important new area of focus. Focus on Disability and Deaf Arts in Canada Focus on Disability and Deaf Arts in Canada was co-authored by Picasso PRO Artistic Principal (and Creative Trust partner) Rose Jacobson, with Geoff McMurchy.

Focus on Disability and Deaf Arts in Canada Focus on Disability and Deaf Arts in Canada was co-authored by Picasso PRO Artistic Principal (and Creative Trust partner) Rose Jacobson, with Geoff McMurchy, Artistic Director of KickstART Celebration of Disability Arts and Culture, in BC. It is a substantial and illuminating study of disability and Deaf arts in Canada within historical, cultural and international contexts.

The Canada Council’s growing commitment to this area was reinforced by its 2008-11 strategic plan consultations. Council’s active plan for disability/Deaf arts is outlined in the Executive Summary of its Expanding the Arts: Deaf and Disability Arts, Access and Equality Strategy, Expanding the Arts: Deaf and Disability Arts, Access and Equality Strategy.

Rose brought her considerable knowledge of disability arts, artist and audience access issues to the table as a member of the external committee which advised on Expanding the Arts; a process that concluded in September. Both documents are aimed at promoting and facilitating action and encouraging ownership of the issues by practitioners across the spectrum of Canadian arts organizations.

Creative Trust’s Sun Life Performing Arts Access Program has trained audio describers and brought American Sign Language interpreters to the stage, shining a spotlight on the importance and joys of full audience access and inclusion through four pilot performances at Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, and Theatre Passe Muraille since 2010.We look forward to shepherding the process forward and working with a widening range of companies down the road.

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