We all had the date marked on our calendar. Arts Day at Queen’s Park was going to bring together artists and arts administrators with Members of Provincial Parliament to meet and talk about the value of arts in Ontario and the work of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).
Unfortunately, Dalton McGuinty’s resignation as Premier and the prorogation of Queen’s Park changed our plans. Instead, we would meet locally in the MPP’s riding office. Both individual Theatre Ontario members and representatives of member organizations were among the many people from all arts disciplines who volunteered to meet with their MPPs. I met with Reza Moridi, Liberal MPP for Richmond Hill and recently appointed Minister of Research and Innovation, to share some of the good news:
- Ontario’s cultural sector directly contributes $19.7 billion annually to Ontario’s economy, representing 4.2% of the province’s GDP
- Direct employment in Ontario’s cultural sector is 252,300 people or 4.1% of total Ontario employment
- Ontario arts organizations receiving operating funding from the OAC had direct expenditures of $541 million in 2009-2010, with previous research showing almost 90% of arts organizations’ spending on goods and services going directly to Ontario business
- Arts and culture tourist spending generated $3.7 billion in GDP province-wide in 2010
We’re proud at Theatre Ontario to be able to advocate on behalf of our members—and we look forward to continuing to articulate your needs to our political leaders in the future.