More funding for local artists

artsVest provides a total of $93,000

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

16 local arts organizations have received funding from artsVest, whose purpose is to build capacity and spark engagement in arts organizations.

Along with the funding, the program also consists of sponsorship training and mentorship, which aims to provide these organizations with a strong foundation that will last well beyond the program.

The cities of Kitchener and Waterloo applied jointly to the program, and were eligible for up to $75,000 as a starting point in matching funds, but exceeded the target and ended up receiving $93,000.

According to Amy Ross, culture plan implementation lead, the total economic impact for both Kitchener and Waterloo with all new partnerships and matching funds included is $287,183.

The program begins with a live sponsorship workshop, in which the organizations will learn the process of sponsorship — from searching for businesses that fit with their organization to meeting with these businesses.

Claire Hefferon, artsVest national program director, states that sponsorship is a way to create meaningful partnerships with businesses that will last for a long time.

“So rather than get a donation from businesses where the tax receipt is given and it’s sort of a gift … it will give them freedom of diversity of income, and just generally speaking builds capacity in their organization,” said Hefferon.

The application for matching funds is based on a conditional grant, meaning the organizations will only receive the funds after they have gathered the same amount from sponsorship with businesses.

Organizations have six months from the start of the program to create sponsorship relationships. Hefferon said this method is a way to incentivize and put their training into action.

During that time, organizations are mentored by 20 corporate sponsorship experts, in which they can ask questions pertaining to corporate sponsorships that are specific to their organization, as each one is different.

Hefferon believes this program allows for a new revenue stream, since arts organizations tend to run on earned revenue.

“The need for it [corporate sponsorship] arises from needing new forms of revenue … so this is adding a new revenue stream into the mix, and the more different streams you have, the more healthy the organization will be,” said Hefferon.

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

ArtsVest operates with funding from Canadian Heritage along with local funding. For example, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, amongst others, is used.

This funding helps the program to run provincially, and allows artsVest to help new Ontario communities ever year.

“So we [artsVest] come in for a year and equip these organizations with training and with skills that last the test of time. So it will allow them to continue these relationships and give them the tools they need to forge ahead,” she said.

Ross said this program pairs well with the Waterloo’s 10-year culture plan of pursuing opportunities to build relationships and partnerships between the culture sector and other sectors in the economy.She adds there are comparisons between arts groups and tech startups in terms of their business model.

“Participating in the program has heightened awareness as the importance of arts and culture within the community and building partnerships is great for business but it is also great for the arts groups,” said Ross.

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