ARCCO Q & A Session with the Canada Council for the Arts

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April 6, 2016

Letter from Jenna Faye Powell, Funder Forum Facilitator and ARCCO Board Secretary

This year at ARCCO’s Annual General Meeting, I was tasked with facilitating the Funder’s Forum section of the teleconference, which occurred on April 6th 2016. This assembly was complimentary to the forum that happened at ARCCO’s national conference last year, which took place prior to the Liberal budget announcement.

I’ve been in attendance at ARCCO’s AGM for four years, the former two as a Member and the latter two as a Board Member. This year’s Forum echoed the questions, discussions and concerns of previous years, but with more focus on the new federal arts budget, and the Canada Council’s implementation of the new funding model in 2017. As vocalized during the meeting, I was asked to take note of the questions as well as share the collected inquiries and abbreviated responses. I have documented our main concerns below and have omitted names of speakers, as well as organizations. The intent of this message is to follow up with ARCCO’s Members after the AGM, and also to indicate to the Canada Council confusing aspects where the artist-run community needs clarification before the new funding model is put into effect. We will share these questions again with our representatives from the CCA. I will also echo their words from the Funder’s Forum to not hesitate to call Program Officers François Dion, or Genevieve Landreville as they are very receptive to one-on-one discussion, which tend to be the most fruitful conversations for organization-specific concerns.

Going forward, ARCCO’s Board and staff will continue to work with our national organization ARCA and the Canada Council throughout the implementation process of the new funding model. We will also continue to urge the Canada Council for the Arts to consider increases to the multi-year core funding stream.

Thank you for your time, energy, and everything you do to keep artist-run centres thriving, energized cultural hubs.

-Jenna Faye Powell

ARCCO Board Secretary / Forest City Gallery, Gallery Director

Artist-Run Centres & Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO)
Forum with Canada Council for the Arts – April 6, 2016
Meeting via Teleconference
Canada Council for the Arts Representatives:
Sylvie Gilbert, Director, Visual Arts Section
François Dion, Program Officer, Visual Arts Section
Genevieve Landreville, Program Officer, Visual Arts Section

Q.1 Regarding the federal budget announcement, what can you tell us about the $35 million budget increase to the Canada Council for the Arts that is anticipated for 2017, and the anticipation of further increases in the next five years? Can you speak to how the money would be divided within the council and granting programs – specifically how it will trickle down to artist-run centres and/or multi-year core funding?

The Canada Council for the Arts is grateful and excited about the projected increase. Specific budgets and allocations will not be known until later in 2016. Representatives are advocating for increases to visual arts programs.

Canada Council for the Arts noted that the increase will be incremental:

Total Increase:
$ 40 m
$ 75 m
$110 m
$145 m
$180 m
$550 m*

Increases will be allocated according to need and priority, and distributed through the New Funding Model. These new grants and programs will be developed based on feedback received regarding Canada Council for the Arts’ 2016-2021 Strategic Plan and their internal discussions.

*Source: Growing the Middle Class, Federal Budget 2016. pg. 185
Q.2 Regarding project grants, will there be specific programs to aid in the governance planning of artist-run centres, mirroring such programs as the Flying Squad?

There will be no separate grant for expenses previously covered under the Flying Squad program. Costs related to governance planning, such as lawyer’s fee and strategic planning costs should be included in an artist-run centre’s core funding budget. Artist-run centres are expected to consider such costs as “operational”.

The Flying Squad Program was intended to foster innovation within organizations or the sector. These ideas have been reworked into new programs under Supporting Artistic Practice. The Sector Innovation and Development program invites all organizations to think about their current models and innovate. The program also encourages partnerships and collaborations between organizations.

These programs will also be available to those receiving core programming funding.
Q.3 With the recent dissolution of the equity office, how will the Canada Council for the Arts address equity in their new model? Will this too be included in the broader granting process? Is there somewhere specifically we can find this information?

The Equity Office has not been dissolved, and equity rules and policies have been integrated into all programs throughout the council. Equity will be a fundamental responsibility within all granting programs, and the values will be imbedded within program evaluation criteria.

More information to come in the Fall of 2016.
Q.4 When can we expect the first granting deadline in 2017? Many artist-run centres rely on Canada Council for the Arts funding to arrive in the Spring with the current multi-year cycle. What procedures or plans are in place to ensure there isn’t a debilitating funding gap for these organizations?

Specific dates are yet to be confirmed. By December 2016, the Canada Council for the Arts’ online portal will be open for registration. Canada Council for the Arts will let the community know information when they know.

The New Funding Model will come into effect in April 2017; the current model will be used through 2016-2017.

Under the New Funding Model, an organization’s mandate will indicate what program they fall into. Projects will no longer be funded based on who you are, but on what you want to do and why you want to do it.

Artist-run centres may fit within multiple programs. Canada Council for the Arts suggested that organizations review the objectives of each program and see where they best fit. They invite organizations to converse with their boards and program officers, and review their mandates and determine their objectives for the next 5 years.

Upcoming January 2017 – March 2017 deadlines may be pushed back or forward depending on the transition. An updated deadline calendar will be released in the Spring of 2016. Canada Council for the Arts will be contacting operating clients to let them know how the transition will work, and to advise them of the new deadlines. They are proactively taking measures to ensure organizations are not lost in the transition, and trying to keep deadlines similar as to not disrupt the community.

Canada Council for the Arts invites the community to contact their program officers and give feedback on the new programs. Program officers have already been working with clients to rethink projects to fit within the New Funding Model, and helping organizations determine which programs they fall into.

Organizations will be able to access project and program funding in addition to receiving core funding. Project funding will also be available to those interested in circulating exhibitions, or producing internationally.
Q.5 Regarding the peer review process, what mechanisms are in place to ensure that specialized practices and organizations are fairly evaluated by people who possess the relevant expertise to those disciplines? Do we know that visual artists will be evaluating the visual artists, media artists evaluating the media arts, etc.?

The peer review process will still be in place, ensuring that people with appropriate backgrounds will be adjudicating corresponding applications. In addition to the Peer Assessment process, Canada Council for the Arts will also internally assess applicants in relation to their strategic priorities.

Organizations will be evaluated based on items including their artist direction, organizational capacity, resilience, and impact on the community. The line defining visual and media art organizations is becoming blurry, however the New Funding Model should enable organizations to be flexible in their artistic merits. Canada Council for the Arts believes that solid organizations share similar ways in how they operate, so organizations can be adjudicated together regardless of their artistic direction.

Canada Council for the Arts noted that artist-driven organizations will be evaluated as organizations. Artists will be evaluated by artists.
Introduction by: Jenna Faye Powell, Funder Forum Facilitator, ARCCO Board Secretary / Forest City Gallery, Gallery Director
Notes transcribed by: Axl T. Ernst, ARCCO Membership Coordinator
Edited by: Jewell Goodwyn, ARCCO Executive Director


ARCCO and the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA)

ARCCO is a proud member and co-founder of the national organization Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference / Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés. ARCCO commends ARCA for its leadership in advocating on behalf of the national artist run centre community.

For more information on ARCA’s discussions with Canada Council for the Arts please visit:

For more information about L’arca in the Loop Communiques:
Current ARCCO Member Representatives to ARCA:
Jewell Goodwyn, ARCCO Executive Director, ARCA Board Member
Jenna Faye Powell, ARCCO Board Secretary (Forest City Gallery)
Josefa Radman, ARCCO Past–President (Factory Media Centre)
Following the Convergence conference organized by ARCCO, in 2002, a series of stakeholder discussions took place across the country concerning the need to create a national entity to advocate on behalf of the artist-run centre community. In 2004, following the Infest conference, organized by PAARC in Vancouver British Columbia, Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA) was formed. The Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference is a Canadian/ pan-regional organization that represents – by way of the nine artist-run centres’ associations that form its membership – over 180 artist-run centres and collectives in cities and towns across the country. Artist-run centres’ associations – are the recognized non-profit geographic, identity and discipline-based artist-run associations which subscribe to the objects of ARCA and represent its membership.