« Coffee Break Reading | Main | Flora MacDonald to Speak in Peterborough Tomorrow Night: Event in Support of YWCA Peterborough »

April 17, 2009

Major Arts Advocacy Organization Starves to Death on Del Mastro's Home Turf

The Peterborough Arts Umbrella (PAU) -- a respected arts organization that provided rehearsal space for musicians, digital media tools for filmmakers, and that organized key arts events in the city; and that advocated on behalf of artists -- has closed its doors after missing out on a $20,000 government grant.

Like many arts organizations, the PAU required on a patchwork quilt of grants as well as paid memberships. According to a report in the Peterborough Examiner, The PAU operated on grants from the City of Peterborough, Ontario Arts Council, Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Trillium Foundation.

A local filmmaker, who is quoted in the story, describes the role of the PAU well: "It was a place where young artists and musicians could jumpstart their careers." The organization's mandate speaks volumes.

The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is a multi-disciplinary, membership-based facility for working artists and community members interested in the thriving Peterborough arts community. We offer many services, including rehearsal spaces for musicians and other performers, a digital media centre with audio and video editing suites, and a 400-square-foot gallery. Since 1995 the Peterborough Arts Umbrella has been a facility-based organization providing visibility for the arts in our community as well as providing a supportive environment where artists in all disciplines and all stages of professional development in their careers meet, collaborate, learn, discuss, produce and disseminate art. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is the only organization in the region that delivers both programs and services across all disciplines. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is membership-based and governed by a volunteer board of directors who report to our membership. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella encourages discipline-specific collaboration with our membership and community through working groups and community partnerships. The Peterborough Arts Umbrella's unique artistic structure has enabled the PAU to remain relevant to the needs of artists in the community and in our region.

This is the very type of project that should be at the top of the list for infrastructure funding, but, once again, arts and culture funding screen remains off the radar for this government -- and on Dean Del Mastro's home turf, no less. Dean Del Mastro, you may recall, is the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Heritage James Moore.

I can't help but wonder if the PAU's mandate to advocate on behalf of artists might have led to arts dollars gravitating towards other arts organizations, assuming the dollars lost were federal. (The news article is a big vague. It sounds like the dollars lost were Canada Council dollars, but I'm not 100% sure. Can anyone confirm?)

The Peterborough Arts Umbrella is a primary advocate for the arts sector and as such plays a major policy role within our larger community. The PAU provides sponsorship for non-registered groups and organizations, providing charitable trusteeship for fundraising activities. The PAU is a member of or actively involved with key municipal, provincial and national stakeholders. The PAU has a permanent seat on the City of Peterborough's Arts, Culture and Heritage Division Board, a body which formally advises municipal government on issues that affect our sector. The PAU is an advisor to Artscape's Creative Clusters Development Program in Ontario and is also active in Visual Arts Ontario, Community Arts Ontario, Theatre Ontario, IMAA (Independent Media Arts Alliance) and NAMAC (National Aboriginal Media Arts Coalition).


We already know that the Harper government isn't big on funding any activities designed to help anyone speak up. And the PAU fulfilled that mandated brilliantly during the last federal election, helping to launch Ordinary Canadians for the Arts.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I thought someone should at least raise the possibility that arts advocacy organizations could be finding themselves to be the least popular kids on the arts organization federal funding block these days.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c655353ef011570259229970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Major Arts Advocacy Organization Starves to Death on Del Mastro's Home Turf :

Comments

This is an absolute travesty. The Arts Umbrella has done such great work in Peterborough and take a lot of the credit for the vibrant arts scene in that city.

The comments to this entry are closed.