CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Supporting artists through COVID recovery

By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Council

Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”

Now in Phase 3 of the provincial plan to reopen most businesses, services and public spaces, we can perhaps take a collective breath to assess where we’ve been and what comes next.

One thing is clear: COVID-19 has devastated arts communities across Ontario.

While artists and arts organizations are, by nature, resilient, the impact of the pandemic has been severe and is expected to be long lasting. Musicians and performers, both dependent on the gig economy, lost income overnight. Galleries, theatres and cultural centres were shuttered. Visual artists and artisans lost exhibitions. Writers lost book tours.

But instead of becoming despondent, now is the time to come together to rebuild our arts community, our region and our province. There is an opportunity for us to work together with local and provincial governments to reshape the arts sector, its infrastructure, and supports, so it can thrive and contribute even more to the social, mental and economic health of our province and our community.

Arts and culture in Ontario directly contribute $25 billion annually to the provincial economy, or 3.3 per cent of Ontario’s GDP, and the arts and culture sector represents more than 300,000 jobs. Provincial arts recovery support will also help our cities of all sizes, rural areas and surrounding regions.

Twenty-five arts organization across Ontario recently formed the Alliance of Arts Councils, who collectively represent tens of thousands of artists, cultural workers and arts groups in every discipline. The Quinte Arts Council is a member, and while our mandate continues to be supporting artists and arts organizations in the Quinte region, in order to do that, we need your help.

The QAC is preparing to host a series of recovery roundtables for the arts. Open to all artists, artist groups and art organizations, “we’ll be creating a safe space to reconnect with the arts community, to hear about your challenges and successes, to encourage, to network and to hear about how we can best support you at this time and going forward,” says Janet Jarrell, executive director.

There will be separate roundtables for the following disciplines: performing arts (August 11), music (August 18), literary (August 25) and visual (September 1).

Information gathered at these roundtables will facilitate the sharing of information and resources, and will help us advocate on a municipal, provincial and federal level for support to help build a new future that includes the arts.

Please visit Eventbrite for more information and to register. There is no cost to participate.