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This is broken I am broken You are broken

For Immediate Release 
Thursday, January 30th 2014


COUNCIL INCREASES ARTS SPENDING BY $10.5 MILLION ANNUALLY

// Major milestone passed: with $6M invested in 2013 and, $4.5M added in 2014, the same amount collected by the billboard levy is now going to art. Council follows through on commitment and locks in 4 year phase-in for reaching $25 per-capita. //


"Budget Committee and Council have committed to reaching $25 per-capita in arts investment by 2017. We have backed this four year commitment with 10.5 million dollars in real money for 2014. This is the same amount of revenue coming in annually from the billboard levy. My colleagues from across the spectrum have come together to support this critical step forward. This new investment will allow us to build a stronger, more economically vibrant city: a city that celebrates the talent that exists in every ward and will project our best onto the world stage." 
- Councillor Gary Crawford, Ward 36 - Scarborough South West 


"We have been working with the arts community for years to invest in arts and culture in this City. I am pleased that their patience and relentless advocacy is finally paying off in the form of a $10.5M investment this year, I look forward to seeing the fantastic work of young, diverse artists from all parts of the city working together, shaping our public spaces and showing that true voice of Toronto. To me that is a Beautiful City" 
- Councillor Joe Mihevc, Ward 21 St. Paul's West ( http://www.joemihevc.com  )


       With the same amount collected annually by the billboard levy now going to art in Toronto, a major milestone has been reached in the 13 year push to create a levy on billboards and invest these funds in arts. The billboard tax was first proposed by a diverse alliance of arts organizations titled BeautifulCity.ca in 2001. The coalition rallied around the idea of diversifying access to expression in public space and supports the following use of the funds:

1. Celebrating diverse voices and activating art programs across Toronto.
2. Creating and building ownership of vibrant and healthy public spaces.
3. Supporting Toronto's living and practicing artists.
4. Building the capacity of young adults, youth and children.

In addition, the alliance recommends that arms-length funding processes such as the TAC be used wherever possible and that ongoing vigilance is applied in ensuring the Signs Unit at the City is fully funded and able to enforce the sign bylaw.

For more on the core values and funding recommendations of BeautifulCity please see: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/BC_GuidingValues.pdf . To see Crawford's motion that passed council, please view: http://tinyurl.com/2014ArtBudget . For the slideshow that accompanied BeautifulCity.ca's deputation to Budget Committee, please view: http://tinyurl.com/BeautifulCitySlideshow  


Inquiries

 --- 

June 12 (Updated June 14, 2013)
For Immediate Release


COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY MAKES VIBRANT PUBLIC SPACES A 2013-2017 ARTS INVESTMENT PRIORITY

// Quotes from across the city, including from Councillors: Thompson, Lindsay Luby, Wong-Tam and Milczyn  // Release also includes new video announcing major TAC investment in Artreach Toronto //

Toronto, Canada // City Council has unanimously passed an amendment to include art in public spaces as an 2013-2017 investment priority. The amendment to ED 22.3 introduced by Councillor Gary Crawford reads: 

"Vibrant Public Spaces - A priority is placed on arts programming that enhances and expands shared public spaces for all Torontonians and visitors to enjoy. Free and accessible programs that help to create a sense of place, help expand freedom of expression, spark community ownership of public spaces and encourage healthy, active living are particularly valuable. The overall objective of this priority is to create a cityscape that is more reflective of Toronto's vibrant cultural mix and where a diversity of voices are welcome in shaping public spaces."

The council decision follows a string of recent victories including the Toronto Arts Council investing $300 000 in Artreach Toronto (see video below or go to: https://vimeo.com/68339379 ) as well as releasing the first batch of arts grants using revenue from the billboard tax. After the 2013 budget, Toronto currently sits at $21 per-person in per-capita investment and is on track to achieving the $25 per-capita benchmark Council committed to in 2003, 2010 and 2011.


EAST-TO-WEST COUNCILLOR QUOTES

"Council's unanimous vote is a strong expression of support for the 2013-2017 Arts Priorities and the Capital Gains Report. Council has also affirmed the original purpose of BeautifulCity.ca to help make Toronto more attractive, vibrant and reflective. When the City invests in great public spaces, our business sector thrives and we attract more tourists to this fantastic city." 
Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair, Economic Development and Culture. (Ward 37 - Scarborough Centre)

"Toronto is a city where culture lives and breathes and evolves. Today, City Council has taken a bold step towards enabling more beautiful, accessible, creative public spaces that can be enjoyed by all." 
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27  Toronto Centre-Rosedale)

"Whether it is a new mural, theatre in the park, a sculpture, or a free outdoor festival, I look forward to more vibrant public spaces for all residents to enjoy and celebrate this city in."
Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby (Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre)

"Making our public spaces more vibrant and active by adding temporary or permanent art and cultural events will add to the joy, mystery, and discovery that residents and visitors to Toronto can expect. Good urban design is not just about the material qualities of these spaces but also about the multitude of ephemeral experiences they can generate." 
Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5, Etobicoke Lakeshore)


MOTION PAPER

 

RESOURCES

BeautifulCity.ca Guiding Values Document: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/BC_GuidingValues.pdf 
Link to Council Item (ED 22.3): http://tinyurl.com/2017ArtsPriorities  


NEW ARTREACH VIDEO

 TAC Artreach announcement video: https://vimeo.com/68339379


MORE INFO

devon@beautifulcity.ca
http://beautifulcity.ca 


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p.s. Artreach info Session, July 4th, 6pm. Register and more info: http://www.eventbrite.ca/event/6397455963



June 9th, 2013
City Hall Update

2013-2017 Arts Priorities to be considered at City Council on June 11th. 
Staff Report ED22.3 http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2013.ED22.3


Update, April 24th 2013
Please Fill Out the Survey:  How should the Btax Revenue Should be Invested in the Arts?


Community Release
March 26, 2013

New Arts Funding! Consultation Dates and Recommendations

Version to share: http://conta.cc/XE1OLz
(1) Public Consultation Dates & Locations ( http://tinyurl.com/ArtsConsultations )
(2) New BeautifulCity.ca Position Doc. ( http://www.beautifulcity.ca/BC_GuidingValues.pdf )
(3) Municipal Progress Update ( http://tinyurl.com/Yr1EcDevPlan )


(1) Share Your Ideas: Public Consultation Dates 
Below are the dates for the joint public consultations by the City and TAC. Participation in these sessions will help the City and the TAC draft a four-year plan to 2016 on how to invest new funding from Council's $25 per-capita commitment and the billboard tax revenue.  Attendance is highly recommended in ensuring that your ideas are folded into the mix, our communities stay connected and the core values that inspired BeautifulCity.ca continue to be recognized.

Downtown, Saturday, April 6th 1-4 pm, St. Lawrence Hall
157 King Street East, ( http://goo.gl/maps/qgAVK )

Etobicoke, Monday, April 8th 6-9 pm, Lakeshore Assembly Hall
1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, ( http://goo.gl/maps/jxCZX )  

Scarborough, Tuesday April 9th 6:30-9:30pm, Cedarbrae Library Auditorium
545 Markham Road, ( http://goo.gl/maps/RbMGM )

North York, Thursday April 18, 6-9 pm, Toronto Centre for the Arts 
5040 Yonge St, ( http://goo.gl/maps/iNJhN )
 
 
Visit: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/BC_GuidingValues.pdf  & send ideas and critiques to feedback@beautifulcity.ca


(2)  BeautifulCity.ca Funding Recommendations
BeautifulCity.ca recommends that new arts funding from the billboard tax is focused on meeting the following objectives:

1. Celebrate diverse voices and activate art programs across Toronto.
2. Create and build ownership of vibrant and healthy public spaces.
3. Support Toronto's living artists.
4. Build the capacity of young people.

Without excluding our partners in the LASOs and Majors, we also believe that arms-length, peer reviewed processes such as the TAC should be used wherever possible to distribute the new funds. This will prevent billboard incentives from developing within the City, help safeguard freedom of expression and ensure creative excellence. 

To review the working position document, please download: 
Send critiques and ideas to feedback@beautifulCity.ca 


(3)  Municipal Progress Update
A plan to on how to distribute the first 6 million in 2013 has passed the Economic Development and Culture Committee and will hopefully be approved at the April 3rd and 4th Council. To view the plan please visit: http://tinyurl.com/Yr1EcDevPlan  

The Toronto Arts Council has also produced a plan for use of the funds in year one that include a focus on youth, better serving diverse communities and making space for new and innovative program offerings. A plan to enliven the city with art in public spaces (free festivals, installations, public performances, creative interventions, murals, free entrance etc.) is also in the works.  To view the TAC priorities please visit: http://tinyurl.com/TACPriorities

BeautifulCity.ca is supportive of these plans going forward without delay so the funds can hit the community this summer. We are looking forward to fruitful dialogue and any concerns coming up during the public consultations. (Dates above.)


Thank you for your time and help in making this amazing opportunity for Toronto a reality! Make sure to check out the new guiding document ( http://www.beautifulcity.ca/BC_GuidingValues.pdf ). Also, looking forward to your participation in the consultations. The billboard tax came out of the Youth Culture Plan Consultations in 2001 so please do bring your voice and big (and small) crazy ideas for making Toronto a better place.


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Martin Knelman,'Toronto arts funding: young artists like Che Kothari lead the way' Toronto Star, January 18, 2013

Michael Nguyen, 'Video: Collections City Hall and Art Jam 2013' UforChange, Jan. 18 2013 

Ben Spurr, 'Finally, arts funding' Now Magazine, Jan. 17th 2013 

Martin Knelman, 'Toronto's billboard tax set to fund city arts and culture' The Star, Jan.16 2013

Hallae Khosravi, 'Billboard Tax Funds Finally to Flow to Toronto's Arts and Culture' Toronto Standard, Jan. 16th 2013





For Immediate Release 
Jan. 16th 2013
http://conta.cc/13DIjYT 

Wow! Toronto Council Directs $22.5 Million from Billboard Tax to Arts & Culture + Art Jam Photos  

Toronto, On // After 12 years in the making, Toronto City Council has directed the billboard tax to arts and culture. Starting with an investment of $6 million in 2013, City Council has committed to a 4 year plan to increase Toronto's yearly arts investment by $17.5 million and meet the long sought $25 per-capita commitment. This will be accomplished by utilizing a $22.5 million arts and culture reserve created from billboard tax revenue.
 
Council voted to meet the benchmark of $25 per-capita in 2003 under Lastman, in 2010 under Miller and in 2011 under Mayor Ford. Despite this, Toronto is (currently) last among comparable Canadian cities in per-capita arts investment. The billboard tax has enabled the city to finally act in a sustainable way to bring arts funding up to competitive levels. 

Jully Black by Wade Hudson, 2013. See below message for albums. 


"I would like to thank my colleagues in Council who made this innovative solution possible with zero negative effect on the taxpayer. Thank you to Councillor Thompson, Councillor Carroll, Councillor Colle and Councillor Wong-Tam to name a few... I would also like to thank the Mayor and his staff for their commitment to the arts and young people across the city." 
Councillor Gary Crawford

 
"The approved increase in arts funding will have a big impact -- now and into the future. It will make a difference to the sustainability of many arts organizations, while creating exciting opportunities for Torontonians, of all ages, all over the City to participate in the arts. It will provide emerging artists with the chance to shine and, through greatly increased arts activity, to enhance Toronto's role on the world stage."
Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director Toronto Arts Council 
 
 
"We are witness to a monumental moment in Toronto's history that will create positive ripples for generations to come. The united voice of a diverse ecosystem of arts communities in Toronto has again prevailed. The potential positive outcomes for Toronto from this of increase to arts investment will prove of immeasurable value as it will ensure that more people will have access to both creating and participating in the arts. In my work with the city over the next few months, I will aim to create a unified push to use this money to bring back the methodologies born in the revolutionary youth arts program Fresh Arts and ensure that ArtReach Toronto is made sustainable and fully supported. I hope you will join me in these efforts. Toronto is already becoming a cultural capitol of North America and now it will become renowned for its cultural policy and in responsiveness to the needs of young people. I am really looking forward to really seeing Toronto shine."
Che Kothari, Lead of Mobilization, BeautifulCity.ca 

Zera Koutchieva Painting, Wade Hudson, 2013. See links below for albums


"It is a fantastic day for the arts in Toronto. There is going to be increased support for young people across the city, our public spaces will be rejuvenated and our economic vitality as a city will be strengthened. I would like to thank all the supporters who called and sent letters to their Councillors, who created flyers, photos and videos and those that forwarded them on -- and those who signed the petition. Many thanks to the countless volunteers who did thankless tasks and to Councillors who voted in favour in Committee and Council --- so many times -- and to all City Staff that helped Councillors make the right decisions, helped us navigate City Hall and worked on the Culture Plan. A huge thank you to all that came to the three town halls, who contributed their voice and talent and made the art that keep us inspired and sustains our passion. Thank you to those wrote pieces in the press and to the Art is Power crew. And a big-big thank you to the organizations of all kinds from across Toronto, that multiplied our efforts and made the BeautifulCity.ca Alliance an unstoppable, ridiculously persistent force for making Toronto a better place. Thank you."
Devon Ostrom, Co-founder of BeautifulCity.ca


BeautifulCity.ca Timeline & Info
 
Previous Release and Quotes from Executive Committee
Quotes from Councillor Thompson, Councillor Vaughan, Councillor Carroll, Councillor Won-Tam, Mayor Ford and Councillor Mihevc: 

Town Hall Art Jam Photos by Meghan Janushewski
 
Town Hall Art Jam Photos by Wade Hudson 

My City My Story Photo Booth 

Recent Media
Martin Knelman, 'Toronto's billboard tax set to fund city arts and culture' The Star, Jan.16 2013

Mustafa Amed and Councillor Crawford, Wade Hudson, 2013. See above for albums.


Inquiries 
Devon Ostrom 
devon@beautifulcity.ca 
1 416 528 5747

My City My Story Photo Booth. See above for full album. 

 
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For Immediate Release
Jan.10 2013

City Executive Directs Billboard Tax to Art !

Toronto, On // Executive Committee has endorsed a bold arts plan fielded by Councillor Gary Crawford. The plan includes $6 million new arts and culture investment for 2013 and bringing Toronto's per-capita to arts spending to $25 utilizing the third party sign tax revenue over the next 4 years.

With the final decision taking place at Council on Jan. 15th and 16th, Artists and Councillors are preparing for a massive art jam at the city on the evening of the 14th. (6-9pm, Committee Room 1 http://cnw.ca/hB5oh )

"This budget includes $22.5 million, over the next few years, in new funding for the Arts. This money should be used to help make Toronto an even more attractive place to live -- and to invest and create jobs. It should also help engage young people across the City who find art as exciting as many kids find sports."
Mayor Rob Ford

"I am very pleased that Toronto's Executive Committee passed my motion to support a plan to put real dollars into a sustainable, ongoing and accountable increase to arts funding without impacting the 2013 budget. I congratulate all the hard work by the passionate, dedicated people who have waited patiently for this increase in arts funding to reach $25 per capita."
Councillor Gary Crawford

"These funds will enable Toronto to move forward toward our goal of a $25 per capita annual expenditure on the arts. The arts sector is a major generator of economic activity, and It is especially gratifying that we can now strengthen the sector without increasing property taxes. It's a big win for all Toronto !"
Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee.

"This is a real victory for the arts community who, with great passion and endless tenacity, never let the issue of fair funding for the arts community escape the notice of city council. The increased funding will help put Toronto on the global map as a creative city where the work of artists is respected and adds to our quality of life."
Councillor Joe Mihevc

"Certain truths about what makes a Great City can transcend petty politics and prevail. The Creative Community in our great City of Toronto has prevailed and Council will begin the move towards adequate funding for a vibrant and deserving community of artists, if ever there was one. We don't need to focus on which administration enacted this move because the engaged artists and residents who made this happen held fast to their goal across decades and multiple administrations. Congrats to Devon, to Che and ever artist who stood with them along the way."
Councillor Shelley Carroll

"The global success of our arts and cultural institutions is a testament to the talent and drive of our artists and the prescience of the private sector to recognize the benefits of investing in the arts. Imagine what Toronto will achieve once we fulfill the decade long pledges, utilize the billboard tax for its original purpose and increase per-capita arts funding to $25."
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam

"Young artists of Toronto deserve a lot of credit for changing the way this City funds the arts. Now it's only fair and right to invest the new resources in young artists and to continue Toronto's role as a magnet for creative people from around the world to come to pursue a career in the arts."
Councillor Adam Vaughan 


Photo Op:
'Collections' Jam and Town Hall
*Eve of City Budget Going to Council*
Jan. 14th 2013, 6-9pm City Hall
Committee Room 1


Gary Crawford's Motion

Toronto Arts Council Release

Recent Media
Paul Moloney, 'Toronto budget shocker: New money will bolster host of services,' The Star, Jan 10 2013

Tim Alamenciak, 'Suburban arts groups eager for funding influx' The Star, Jan 10 2013

James Adams, 'Toronto arts groups await word of city funding' Globe and Mail, Jan. 9 2013

Natalie Alcoba 'The right thing to do': Toronto mayor Rob Ford endorses string of spending increases in 2013 budget' National Post, Jan.10 2013

Previous Release:

Inquiries:
Devon Ostrom
416 528 5747
Devon@beautifulcity.ca
www.beautifulcity.ca   


- xxvii - 

For Immediate Release
CNW: http://cnw.ca/hB5oh
Jan. 9, 2013

Photo Op: 'Collections' Art Jam at City Hall,  Jan. 14th 6-9pm

Toronto, On // Artists, City Councillors and young people from across Toronto are holding a massive jam on the eve of the 2013 City Budget. The art rally is in support of the idea of using the billboard tax to rejuvenate arts and culture in Toronto. 

The 'Collections' Jam and Town Hall will feature words from top Canadian recording artists Shad and Jully Black as well as performances from 16 year old Mustafa Amed, backed by Councillor Gary Crawford on drums. City Councillors are also scheduled to visit the session and work on a large scale collaborative painting with Ashley McKenzie-Barnes and arguably Toronto's best loved street artist, Elicser Elliot!  

The town hall will also feature artists: Solitair, Miigizi, Adrian Hayles, Malcolm Yarde, Maracatu Baque De Bamba, Romeo, Deejay L'Oqenz and the My City My Story photo group. Hosts include community leaders and artists: Motion, Amanda Parris and Che Kothari.

The Jam is being held by BeautifulCity.ca, an alliance that has been pushing the billboard tax for art forward since 2001. Recently, hopes have been buoyed by the Supreme Court of Canada upholding the billboard tax and new City Staff reports that recommend putting $22.5 million from the tax into the arts. A Market-Pulse poll from Dec. of 1085 people also showed that 67% of Torontonians agree that "on a per-person basis, the City of Toronto should invest as much funding in arts and culture as other major Canadian cities" Only 15 % disagree (+/- 2.97). Currently, Toronto is last among comparable Canadian cities in per-capita arts spending. This is despite City Council committing to fix this in 2003 under Mayor Lastman, in 2010 under Miller and in 2011 under Ford. 

"Putting the billboard levy into the arts is a big win for Toronto. Council gets to follow through on something it has promised to do and Toronto gets a more vibrant, creative city with no additional cost to the city budget or taxpayer. I invite my colleagues from across the political spectrum to follow through and deliver on our commitments to invest in arts and culture."  Councillor Gary Crawford, Chair, Mayor's Task Force for Arts and Theatres 

"In 2009 we united for the first town hall and Council finally voted yes to the billboard tax for art. In 2010 we held the 'InVoice' Town Hall, and Council said yes to competitive levels of art investment but needed a year. In 2011, a new Council confirmed the commitment, but dropped the ball when it came to real action for the young people and diverse communities that created this initiative. The 'Collections' jam promises to be a creative and fun opportunity to hold our leaders accountable to their commitments and usher in a new era for Toronto's arts and culture." 
Che Kothari, Host and Organizer

Event Info:
'Collections' Art Jam and Town Hall, Jan. 14th 6-9pm, City Hall, 100 Queen St. West. Committee Room 1

Resources:

Inquires:
Devon Ostrom - Devon@BeautifulCity.ca 
416 528 5747

416 569 6355

http://www.beautifulcity.ca               

  - xxvi -   

Update, Jan 8th 2013
Rita Davies, 'Toronto's new billboard tax should support arts community' Toronto Star Jan. 8th 2013
Briefing Note, Arts and Culture Funding – Phase In Plan, Jan. 8 2013
Paul Moloney, 'Arts and Gardiner repairs benefit as Toronto's 2012 surplus doubles to $232 million' Toronto Star, Jan. 7 2013
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1312042--toronto-surplus-goes-way-up


Community Release
Jan. 4th 2013



'COLLECTIONS'   ART JAM AND TOWN HALL

* Eve of 2013 City Budget Going to City Council *
Monday Jan. 14th, 6:00-9:00 PM 
City Hall, 100 Queen Street West 
Committee Room 1


FEATURING: 

Official Welcome:
Miigizi (Nyle) (Indigenous Artist / Painter)

Special Guest Speakers:
Jully Black
Shad
Solitair

Live Painting by:
Ashley McKenzie-Barnes
Elicser Elliot
Adrian Hayles
Malcolm Yarde

Performances & Jam Session:
Mustafa Ahmed
Councillor Gary Crawford
Maracatu Baque De Bamba
Romeo

Bring your instruments, songs, dancing feet and voice to join in on a collective, hour-long jam session.

DJ:
Deejay L'Oqenz

Hosted & Moderated by:
Motion
Amanda Parris
Che Kothari

Photo Booth By:
My City My Story


Special Guests to be Announced!


BACKGROUND:
In 2009 we united for the first town hall and in response Council acted on the billboard tax for art. In 2010 we held the 'InVoice' Town Hall, and Council voted yes to competitive levels of art investment but needed a year. In 2011, a new Council confirmed the commitment, but dropped the ball when it came to real action. Come to the jam, make your voice heard and bring it home.


MORE INFO:
Facebeast Info & Updates: http://tinyurl.com/collectionsjam   
Updated video: http://vimeo.com/56199788 
BeautifulCity.ca Town Hall 1: http://vimeo.com/5639645  
InVoice Town Hall: http://tinyurl.com/invoiceTHvideo 


MEDIA INQ:
devon@beautifulcity.ca
+1 416 528 5747


VOLUNTEER:
amy.gyc@gmail.com 


RECENT MEDIA:
- Matt Elliott, "Toronto budget 2013: Increasing arts funding should be a no-brainer" Dec. 16th Metro Toronto

- Che Kothari, "Toronto: Use the Billboard Tax to Fund the Arts," Huffington Post, Dec. 11, 2012

- Staff, "Billboard Tax Wins at Supreme Court," NRU, Nov 23




- xxv - 




Recent Media

Matt Elliott, "Toronto budget 2013: Increasing arts funding should be a no-brainer" Dec. 16th Metro Toronto
Matt Galloway, Metro Morning, CBC, Dec. 12, 2012 http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/
Che Kothari, "Toronto: Use the Billboard Tax to Fund the Arts," Huffington Post, Dec. 11, 2012  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/che-kothari/billboard-tax-arts-funding-toronto_b_2277380.html
Paul Moloney , "Toronto needs to boost arts funding, advocates say," Toronto Star, Dec. 11, 2012  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1300288--toronto-needs-to-boost-arts-funding-advocates-say
Urban Planner, Torontoist, Dec. 10, 2012 http://torontoist.com/2012/12/urban-planner-december-10-2012/ 
Aslinn Rose, "Beautifulcity.ca makes final push for Billboard Tax to fund arts as intended," Praxis, Dec. 10, 2012  http://praxistheatre.com/category/beautifulcity-ca/
James Armstrong, "Councillors look to increase arts funding" Global News, Dec.5, 2012  http://www.globaltoronto.com/councillors+look+to+increase+arts+funding/6442766765/story.html


Dec. 10, 2012 
Citywire

2013 BUDGET DEPUTATIONS UPDATE 

67 % of Torontians agree that on a per-person basis, the City of Toronto should invest as much funding in arts and culture as other major Canadian cities. Only 15 % disagree. Market-Pulse 2012

"Putting the billboard levy into the arts is a big win for Toronto. Council gets to follow through on something it has promised to do and Toronto gets a more vibrant, creative city with no additional cost to the city budget or taxpayer. I invite my colleagues from across the political spectrum to follow through and deliver on our commitments to invest in arts and culture."   
Councillor Gary Crawford | Chair of the Mayor's Task Force for Arts and Theatres | Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest. http://www.councillorcrawford.ca/

1) New Market-Pulse Poll:  http://www.beautifulcity.ca/Arts_MarketPulse_Poll_2013_Budget.pdf 
2) New Video: https://vimeo.com/55239232
3) 2013 Budget Ask: http://beautifulcity.ca/Budget2013.pdf 

Save the Date!
'Collections' Jam at City Hall
Jan. 14th 6:00pm 
Committee Rm1.

 - xvi - 

Dec. 3rd 2012
BeautifulCity.ca 2013 City Budget - New Guiding Document: http://bit.ly/SBxW3g (90kb)
- Includes key asks, arguments as well as timeline, 2 pages. 


Community Release
Nov. 22, 2012.

BILLBOARD TAX APPEALS EXHAUSTED - SUPREME COURT OF CANADA DECLINES HEARING  

Ottawa // Today the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the outdoor advertising industry's appeal of Toronto's billboard tax. This marks the end of the appeals process and gives Toronto City Council clear financial means to serve the repeated commitments it has made to increase arts funding.
 
Over the past decade, Toronto City council has made three unfulfilled commitments to enhancing Toronto's vibrancy and competitiveness including the Creative Capital Gains Report (Passed by council May 2011) Strategies for Arts and Culture Funding (2010) and The Cultural Plan (2003.) Currently investment by Toronto ranks lowest by a wide margin among comparable Canadian Cities (Hill, 2012) and due to inflation, has eroded by over 5% in the past two years.
 
First proposed in 2001, the objective of the billboard levy is to balance creative expression in public spaces including a priority on art in under-served communities. The campaign was spearheaded by young people from across Toronto, championed by an alliance of over 60 organizations and strongly supported in three rounds of public opinion polls.
 
The settlement of the tax issue will also allow resources to flow into bolstering regulation of the billboard industry. This was agreed as an essential use of the funds by all major parties during the city's consultation process, including by the billboard industry.
 
By rejecting the appeal the Supreme Court has also effectively set a national precedent. The appeal to the Supreme Court by the billboard companies was initiated after the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the billboard levy 3-0 in April 2012.
 
Recent Media:
Staff Writer, "Billboard Tax Wins at Supreme Court," NRU, Nov 23 2012
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5tsukbuwjxtue6m/NRU-Nov23rd.jpg
Robyn Doolittle, 'Supreme Court lets Toronto's billboard tax stand,' Toronto Star. Nov. 22 2012
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1291494--supreme-court-upholds-city-of-toronto-billboard-tax
Jeff Gray, 'Supreme Court refuses to hear Toronto billboard tax appeal,' Globe and Mail, Nov. 22 2012

Action!
BeautifulCity.ca is recommending that all supporters contact their local councilor and ask how they can make sure funds go towards the arts.
(Find your councillor here: http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp ).
 
Resources:
Court Decision Document:
http://scc.lexum.org/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/news/en/item/4149/index.do
Municipal Cultural Investment in Five Large Canadian Cities (Hill,
2012: http://www.hillstrategies.com/docs/Municipal_cultural_investments_5cities.pdf
 
Press Inquiries 
devon@beautifulcity.ca
416 528 5747

 - xxiv - 


April 2nd, 2012
Community Release

BILLBOARD TAX GETS TEETH BACK

>> Tax Upheld 3-0 by Ontario Court of Appeal, Grandfathering Removed >>

Toronto, Canada // Today the Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld Toronto's billboard tax 3-0, overturning the lower court's earlier decision. This represents a big win for everyone who pushed for the tax and defended it during the court action.

BeautifulCity.ca expects that the decision will be useful during next year's budget process to help service the commitments Toronto City Council made to increasing arts funding. To date, council has made three unfulfilled commitments to enhancing Toronto's vibrancy and competitiveness including the Creative Capital Gains Report (Passed May 2011) Strategies for Arts and Culture Funding (2010) and The Cultural Plan (2003.) Currently investment by Toronto ranks lowest by a wide margin among comparable Canadian Cities (Hill, 2012) and due to inflation, has eroded by over 5% in the past two years.

The appeal process started after a unanimous decision by Planning and Growth Management Committee on March 25, 2011.

 

Resources:
Court Decision Document:
http://www.ontariocourts.ca/decisions/2012/2012ONCA0212.htm 
Municipal Cultural Investment in Five Large Canadian Cities (Hill, 2012)
http://www.hillstrategies.com/docs/Municipal_cultural_investments_5cities.pdf

More info:
devon@beautifulcity.ca 

- xxiii -

Community Release
March 25, 2011

 

PGM PASSES APPEAL UNANIMOUSLY

 

The Planning and Growth Management Committee has unanimously approved appealing the billboard tax. Many thanks to Councillors across the spectrum including Karen Stintz, Ana Bailão, Frank Di Giorgio and Adam Vaughan as well as guest Councillors including Joe Mihevc, Shelley Carroll and Janet Davis.  Extra-special thanks to Councillors Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest) and Peter Milczyn (Committee Chair) for showing leadership on ushering this issue through successfully to council for (deep-breath) final decision on April 12. If you have a moment, please take one to thank the Councillors.

 

Deputations included Shannon Litzenberger ( http://www.shannonlitzenberger.com  ) with dash of Ravi Jain ( http://www.theatrewhynot.org/ ) Claire McWatt ( http://www.thetyc.ca/ ) Claire Hopkinson  ( http://www.torontoartscouncil.org ) Rami Tabello ( http://www.illegalsigns.ca ) Devon Ostrom ( http://www.beautifulcity.ca ) and an excellent deputation by Clara Fraser, simultaneously channeling both Seema Jethalal and Nayani Vathsaladevi-Thiyagarajah ( http://www.themanifesto.ca ) Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed on short notice.

 

 

 

 

'Circle, Councillors Gary Crawford and Ana Bailão' (back view)
Photo Credit: Liezel LaPointe, 2011 http://www.lapointeproductions.com/
More here: http://tinyurl.com/PGM-24-11-album

 

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

 

NEXT (HOT) STEPS
The next step is for Council to approve the appeal on April 12. While the issue is hot, please visit http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp to find your councillor and let them know how important it is that the billboard tax is appealed. Please let us know how it goes so we can (a) say hi and (b) get a better idea how things are going across the city. There are some useful arguments to use in the section below.

 


 

'Same as above, two towers and a circle' (front view)
Photo Credit: Liezel LaPointe, 2011 http://www.lapointeproductions.com/
More here: http://tinyurl.com/PGM-24-11-album

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

 

11 KEY ARGUMENTS FOR APPEALING THE BILLBOARD LEVY

 

1. Shows customer service excellence |  70% of Toronto's taxpayers (citizens) support the levy across 3 independent polls. (Please see: http://beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=29 )

 

2. Unique tax | The billboard tax is not like the other taxes in dispute. It was introduced independently under Mayor Lastman in 2001, is supported by a large majority and was frequently cited in staff reports as popular. (Please see: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/consult.jpg )

 

3. Accountability | If left as-is, the city is out 10 million. This takes us one step further away from the $25 per capita increase to arts investment Mayor Ford agreed to while campaigning. (Please see: August 25, 26 and 27, 2010 Council.)

 

4. Decision is unclear | The basis for exempting signs erected before 2010 has been described by councillors as "ridiculous," akin to exempting people born before a certain date of income tax and could set a dangerous precedent. The court decision also needs further clarification around the word 'respect'. (Please see: http://tinyurl.com/OntCourtRuling pg. 45-48)

 

5. Responsiveness | It shows respect for almost a decade of youth-led, citizen effort to improve Toronto's shared spaces for citizens and businesses alike. (Please see: http://beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=19 )

 

6. Community Support | Over 60+ organizations endorse the idea from across Toronto and there are over 4700+ signatories from every Toronto ward.

 

7. Diversity | The objective of the fee for use of public airspace is to beautify public spaces across the city and expand access to artistic expression.

 

8. Value Shared Spaces | Almost all other forms of advertising subsidize significant cultural content in exchange for the public's attention (e.g. TV includes 45 minutes of educational or entertaining content in exchange for 15 minutes of advertising, newspapers about 50/50.) Billboards, however, effectively give only advertising to the public as people have no choice in viewing the messages.

 

9.  Responsible | It is disappointing and demeaning to the idea of civic engagement if the court system can be used to override hard-fought, democratically achieved decisions.

 

10. Investment | A 2006 McKinsey and Co. study found that "for every 1 dollar of public arts funding in a regional economy, 8 (dollars) are generated."

 

11. City Building | According to EKOS Research, 80% of Torontonians think that government investment in arts in public spaces improves the local economy.

 


//////////////////////////////////////////////////////
 
ATTEND THE CREATIVE CAPITAL CONSULTATIONS
Date:    Monday March 28 and Thursday April 7, 2011
Time:    6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. both nights
Place:   Toronto City Hall, Council Chambers (100 Queen St. West)
More info: http://tinyurl.com/CCIConsult
 

 

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

 

MEDIA
Patrick White, 'Toronto, ad firms plan separate appeals over billboard tax ruling' Globe, March 24, 2011
http://tinyurl.com/PGM-globe1
Kelly Grant, '$10-million sign tax ruling is likely to prompt some soul-searching' Globe, March 4, 2011
http://tinyurl.com/PGM-globe2
Don Peat, 'City committee votes to appeal billboard tax ruling' Sun, March 24, 2011
http://tinyurl.com/PGM-sun1
Hamutal Dotan 'City May Appeal Court Ruling on Billboard Tax' Torontoist March 24, 2011
http://tinyurl.com/PGM-Torontoist1
Enzo M, 'Cityscape' section, scroll Down' Now, March 24, 2011
http://tinyurl.com/PGM-Now

 

 

 

- 39 -

 

March 16th, 2011 (additions on March 22)
Community Advisory

 

Background & Update: Billboard tax court decision

 

Whether or not the court appeal should be launched will be decided by Planning and Growth Management Committee (PGM) Thursday, March 24th, in Committee Room 1. This will be followed by Council on April 12th. While Justice Penny upheld the tax, the court struck down the ability of the City to tax signs that were erected prior to the date the City began collecting the tax in April 2010. This effectively kills the tax as more than 95% of signs in Toronto were erected before April 2010. Without the tax, Toronto will also be short the $10 million it needs to balance its 2011 budget.

 

The lawsuit, launched by Pattison Outdoor and industry association Out of Home Marketing Association of Canada (OMAC), follows the industry practice of using the courts to undermine democratic decisions of municipal governments.

 

Left unchallenged it also disrespects almost a decade of hard fought campaigning by BeautifulCity.ca and citizens across Toronto. According to three independent public opinion polls, going back as far as 2005, approximately 70% of Torontonians support the tax for art and over 4500 people signed a petition of support. The tax was also frequently cited in staff and consultant's reports as being highly popular.

 

BeautifulCity.ca is a broad based alliance of over 60 youth, arts and civic sector organizations who introduced the idea of a billboard levy for use of public airspace under Mayor Lastman. The objective of the tax is to beautify public spaces across the city and expand access to artistic expression.

 

These goals are underlined by the fact that all other forms of advertising subsidize significant cultural content in exchange for the public's attention (e.g. TV includes 45 minutes of educational or entertaining content in exchange for 15 minutes of advertising, newspapers about 50/50.) Billboards, however, effectively give only advertising to the public as people have no choice in viewing the messages. The tax is meant to offset this imbalance.

 

City builders are taking heart in that during his campaign, Mayor Rob Ford voted to increase lagging arts investment to $25 per-capita as part of a 40/1 council decision.   

 


>> March 24th PGM Info
Planning and Growth Management Committee (PGM) Thursday, March 24th, in Committee Room 1.
Meeting monitor: http://tinyurl.com/PGMmeetingmonitor 
Agenda item: http://tinyurl.com/PGM-item-m24 
Invite: http://tinyurl.com/PGM-Thurs-24

>> Resources
Superior Court Ruling: http://tinyurl.com/OntCourtRuling pg. 45-48)
Polling Info: http://beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=29

 

 >> Inquiries
Devon Ostrom
devon@beautifulcity.ca
416 528 5747

 


Community Advisory / Forward
Jan 18, 2011
 
Forward >>  Calling all artists and arts organizations:  Please join us at City Budget Deputation meetings being held January 19 and 20

 

For the first time, all of Toronto's funded arts organizations are collaborating on a shared presentation for the Budget Committee.  There are four separate meetings being held, and presentations will be led by one of: Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, the Major Cultural Organizations or Toronto Arts Council at each meeting.

 

As is stands now, the City's proposed budget for arts organizations including TAC is a flat-line.  This means no cuts and no increases.  Toronto Arts Council, working with our colleagues, will present the case that Toronto City Council should honour its previous recommendations to increase arts funding to $25 per capita by 2013.

 

Anyone wishing to add their voice to the budget discussion may register to depute to: buc@toronto.ca before January 18.

 

Even if you don't want to speak - please come out to support your arts colleagues who will present budget recommendations on behalf of the community.

 

  
Public Deputations on Toronto's budget are being held, as follows:
1. Wednesday January 19, 6-9 p.m. at both:
a) North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St. and
b) East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Avenue

2. Thursday, January 20, 6-9 p.m. at both:
a) Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive, and
b) York Civic Centre, 2700 Eglinton Avenue West

Click here for directions to all civic centres:
http://www.toronto.ca/311/locations.htm
 
Facebook Groups:
-> Scarborough: http://on.fb.me/g0NQnA
-> North York: http://on.fb.me/ijkRvl
-> Downtown & East York: http://on.fb.me/fURsJ3
-> Etobicoke & York: http://on.fb.me/g5Aw75

 

Show your support!

 

Yours,
Beautifulcity.ca

 

P.s. Art Attack
Hands:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh2HCqJ3sso
Money: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIrVd8tTTM8

** Save the Dates **
Executive Committee, Feb. 17
City Council, Feb. 24

- xxii -

 


Community Release
August 26 2010
 
 //// Victory: Council Passes $17.5 Million Increase to Arts Investment 40-1! ////
 
Toronto // Today Toronto city Council passed a recommendation to increase arts funding to $25 per capita by 2013. This should result in 17.5 million dollars in additional yearly investment by 2013.
 
This city building decision was made possible by the hard fought billboard tax initiated in 2001 by Beautifulcity.ca -- but goes above and beyond the projected revenue. The effort was also boosted forward by an unfulfilled council decision from 2003 from the Culture Plan and recent studies showing the critical importance of increased investment in arts and culture in Toronto.
 
Devon Ostrom, founder of the Beautifulcity. Alliance stated: "This is an amazing day in Toronto's development. Council has fulfilled the obligation to leverage the revenue from the billboard tax revenue into the arts, build a vibrant cultural capital, put food in the fridges of thousands of artists and has given a voice to hundreds of under-served communities across the city."
 
Regarding the upcoming election, co-coordinator Sabra Ripley noted that, "Almost all of the front-running mayoral candidates have endorsed using the billboard tax to rejuvinate the arts and cultural industries in this city. The next step is to get out and vote, encourage others to do the same and elect arts friendly, city building politicians to make sure this decision sticks."
 

 

/ Inquiries
Sabra@beautifulcity.ca | 4169998903
julia@beautifulcity.ca | 4169281978
devon@beautifulcity.ca | skype: devon.ostrom
 
/ Save the Date!
Mayoral Arts Debate - Wednesday, September 29- AGO 7pm - 8:30pm
Presented by Business for the Arts, in partnership with ArtsVote Toronto, the Toronto Arts Council, the AGO and Manifesto

 

 

 

-xxi-

August 16
Community Release
 
// Executive unanimously recommends increase in arts investment to $25 per-capita //
 
Toronto, ON // Today the Executive Committee of the City of Toronto unanimously recommended an increase in arts funding to $25 per capita by 2013. Pending approval by Council on August 25/26 this will result in 17.5 million dollars in additional investment by 2013. The cash starved arts and culture sector will see the funds broken into a cumulative 5.83 million dollar increments added every year for the next 3 years. The Toronto Arts Council, Major Cultural Organizations, Local Arts Service Organizations and community arts are to be recognized as the highest funding priority.
 
This city building decision was made possible by the hard fought billboard tax iniated in 2001 by Beautifulcity.ca -- but goes above and beyond the projected revenue! Currently, Toronto lags behind most North American cities in per-capita spending at $18, whereas Montreal currently invests $33 per capita. (See quotes from Executive below.)
 
 
! Action Point !
** Time to get our collaboration on! Please phone your local councillor and ask them what you can do to make sure the increase passes Council on August 25/26. Find your councillor here: http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp **
 
 / Photos of Exec.
http://tinyurl.com/BeautifulcityPhotos
 
/ Previous PR, Video, Mayoral Endorsements
http://beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=22
 
/ Inquiries
Sabra@beautifulcity.ca | 4169998903
julia@beautifulcity.ca | 4169281978
devon@beautifulcity.ca | skype: devon.ostrom

 

/ Quotes from August 16th Executive:
"The Agenda for Prosperity and the Culture Plan are key to the economic development of our City." "When you fund the arts you are funding poverty… people in the arts are living in poverty and that is a disgrace."
Councillor Kyle Rae

 

"It is not a question of 'can we afford to do it.' We cannot afford not to do it."
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone

 

"We have a culture plan. Now we need to fund it." "Community arts really is about building neighbourhoods… and that's what we should be supporting as we move forward."
Councillor Janet Davis

 

"We wouldn't have a Distillery District, we wouldn't have a Regent Park revitalization project… we wouldn't have tax bases like these if we didn't have the artists."
Councillor Pam McConnell

 

Re: The upcoming election: "This is just one moment in a series of moments and we have to be very strong and stick to our guns as we work to make the culture plan a reality"
Councillor Joe Mihevc

 

 

 

Community Release
August 13th

 

 


// Friendly Reminder, Monday 10am - City Hall, Support the Arts ! + New Video City Hall //

 

>> Come show your support for increased arts funding in Toronto supported by the billboard tax. Monday Aug. 16th 10-11am - Committee Room 1, Please spread the word! Speakers to include:  Karen Kain, Eric Peterson, Che Kothari,  R.H. Thomson, Cameron Bailey, Jim Fleck and Sabra Ripley <<
 

                                 

Show Support for Arts Funding Increase - Monday Aug 16th - City Hall, 10:00am from BeautifulCity.ca on Vimeo.

 

 

 

Mayoral Quotes, PR & Key Asks: http://tinyurl.com/2v2gzfm 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=108689862519545&ref=ts
Strategies for Arts and Culture Funding Report: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2010/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-32905.pdf
New Video: http://www.vimeo.com/14105047  
Video Mirror: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzOgnms-Dl4

 


- xii-

 


Press Release
Attention News Editors
August 6th, 2010

 

// Executive Committee to decide on long-term plan to increase arts funding supported by billboard tax //

 

>> Top mayoral candidates join the almost unanimous endorsement of a move to bring arts spending up to $25 per-capita. New funds available as a result of ground-breaking campaign by BeautifulCity.ca. >>

 

Toronto, ON // On August 16th City Council's Executive Committee will decide on a long-term plan to increase arts funding with new money made available from the recently implemented billboard tax. In a unprecedented show of support from across the spectrum, advocates, citizens, councillors and top mayoral candidates (see quotes section below) are united in a call to create a more vibrant and healthy city by increasing funding for the arts. This investment of new funds is in-line with commitments made in the City's 2003 Culture Plan and will bring per-capita arts investment in Toronto closer to the levels achieved by other major North American cites.

 

Applauding an increase in arts funding the Beautifulcity.ca Alliance holds that:
- The maximum possible amount of funds should go into grants, as this is the most cost effective means of getting funds to artists.
- The primary mechanism to distribute the new funds should be through the Toronto Arts Council which, as an existing artist driven entity with a transparent, peer run delivery system, is well positioned to adjudicate funds in a fair and sustainable way.
- New funds should be directed to arts immediately, beginning with the 2011 budget.
- The TAC should work with Beautifulcity.ca to ensure that the allocation of new funds is consistent with the values established by the Alliance and prioritizes accessible funding for new, emerging and diverse artists and art in public spaces.

 

// Recent Legislative History
On April 15 2010 -- in response to strong and sustained public pressure including the 'Invoice Town Hall' (vid 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0sLY4R5Hkk + vid 2: http://vimeo.com/10467626 ) and an EKOS Poll ( http://www.beautifulcity.ca/ekos.pdf ) showing that only 18% of Torontonians support a billboard tax that merely goes to general revenue -- the 2010 city budget was passed with a motion by Budget Chief Shelley Carroll to direct "the GM of Economic Development and Culture to submit a report to Executive Committee within the current mandate, on possible strategies for Arts and Culture funding in future years, taking into consideration the new revenue stream created by the Billboard Tax and Council's previously adopted Culture Plan, appended to the Martin Prosperity Institute report which evaluates the cost of addressing inflation as well as matching expected growth in the sector." More info and facts: http://beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=19

 


// Inquiries
Sabra@beautifulcity.ca
4169998903
julia@beautifulcity.ca
4169281978
devon@beautifulcity.ca
skype: devon.ostrom

 


// Mayoral Quotes of Support
"At the first debate in the Mayor's race, I called for funds generated by the billboard tax to be put to use enhancing our arts and culture sector and improving the public realm. It's good to see that the city is finally fulfilling the pledge they made to Beautiful City."
George Smitherman, Mayoral Candidate

 

"As a first step, Rossi's Creative City plan would immediately increase per capita funding of the Arts to $25 - a 39 per cent increase. About two-thirds of the estimated $17.5 million cost of this change will come from billboard tax revenues."
Press Release: 'Rocco Rossi vows major new role for arts,' July 2nd 2010

 

"I remain committed to doubling arts funding, precisely because it is that one organic entity that never dies long after a city declines, and, God forbid, decays. Toronto is especially lucky to have a collective as well organized as the beautifulcity.ca group, and I can only hope to champion their cause when I am elected on Oct. 25th."
Rocco Achampong, Mayoral Candidate

 

"I am 1000 percent behind the billboard tax going to art."
Councillor Joe Pantalone, Mayoral Candidate

 

"Arts and cultural organizations have a huge economic impact on cities. They stimulate creativity and create vital communities that generate jobs and revenues. They are employers, producers and key promoters of our city. Arts and cultural organizations have a crucial impact on our economy. But they also deepen our understanding of the human spirit, extending our capacity to understand others and imagine how to create a better world. Our municipal government must set the stage of support for our arts and cultural organizations. I believe the billboard tax collected should be applied to supporting arts and cultural organizations in Toronto."
Sarah Thompson, Mayoral Candidate

 


// Supplementary Quote
"The challenge ahead is to take the innovative change we have created together and make it sustainable and fully integrated / institutionalized into the larger structures so that good things can happen on a perennial basis. Success will be found in the negotiation between the values that brought BeautifulCity.ca together, the need to rejuvenate our shared funding bodies and the stability and fairness they offer. "
Devon Ostrom, Co-coordinator / Founder - Beautifulcity.ca Alliance

 

- xxi -

 

 

 

Community Release
April 16, 2010

 

Moscoe Brings Magic Art Wand,  Billboard Tax for Art Motion Passes

 

Heyo! The billboard thing passed. Denzil's motion to remove it from budget failed miserably 13/32. Apparently Mammoliti is going to announce a new arts policy next week too.... the calls got to him I guess. He said that the billboard tax is crumbs for the arts and they deserved better in being a meaningful part of the city (wtf! - how many people called and emailed him anyway? Great job!)

 

This is my read on things...

 

(1) Props & Thank You List
Howard Moscoe - literally brought magic art wand and waved it around: councillor_moscoe@toronto.ca  / 416-392-4027
Pam McConnell - advocated extremely well: councillor_mcconnell@toronto.ca  / 416-392-7916
Shelley Carroll - took it forward: councillor_carroll@toronto.ca  / 416-392-4038
+ the other 30 councillors in favour!

 


(2) Councillors Against that Could be Persuaded Otherwise
Bill Saundercook (13 Parkdale-High Park) / councillor_saundercook@toronto.ca  / 416-392-4072 (tons of artists in his ward)
Brian Ashton (36 Scarborough Southwest) / councillor_ashton@toronto.ca  / 416-392-4052
David Shiner (24 Willowdale) / councillor_shiner@toronto.ca  / 416-395-6413
John Parker (26 Don Valley West) / councillor_parker@toronto.ca  / 416-392-0215 (requested that billboard funds go to staff pay increases)
Karen Stintz (16 Eglinton-Lawrence) / councillor_stintz@toronto.ca  / 416-392-4090 (previously said that "Notionally everyone agrees that taxes need to be paid and even the sign industry wants to contribute to the beautification of the city")

 

 

 


The vote count sinking Denzil's Motion to Remove Shelley's Motion, April 15th 


(2.1) Email to Modify and Send to Above 'Councillors to Be Persuaded'

 
 

Dear Councillior X

 

          I was disappointed to see you vote against the billboard tax finally going to art and Council realizing its commitment to the Culture Plan by increasing Toronto's per-capita spending to competitive level.

 

Please understand that enhancement of public spaces with art is, by its nature -- for all of Toronto's citizens, not only for artists as some have misunderstood. Like any industry, the arts need ongoing investment to project on the world stage and innovate. The ROI is good, please check out this McKinsey & Co report titled: 'A Business Case for Investment in the Arts': http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bcbf/CBAC.ppt   (900kb PPT). Add to that, EKOS Research found that 80% of Torontonians believe that government investments in arts and culture to enhance public spaces improve the local economy. The benefits of investment as far as reducing crime have also been well documented. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, "Low income neighbourhoods with higher cultural participationare four times more likely than average to have low delinquency rates. Neighbourhoods with an active arts scene are nearly three times more likely to see their poverty rates decline and their population increase."

 

I realize that you might think that Toronto can't focus on an 'extra' like the arts right now with the projected budget problems. However, please understand that the city never has enough. Faced with this problem, Torontonians created and supported a source of funds (the Billboard Tax) to fund the art and city beautification projects they wanted in their neighbourhoods. The city would not even have the funds without the citizen-led effort and the allotment is less than 0.09% of the budget next year. The residents of your ward will get no visible benefit if it goes to general use.

 

At the end of the day this is about more than funding the arts - it's about art and city beautification projects that can provide jobs, strengthen communities, engage youth, adults and seniors, reduce crime, increase tourism, create hope and develop local pride. Could you please let me know why you voted this way on April 15th? I know you want to build a more inclusive and economically vibrant Toronto. Please don't stand in the way of this citizen-led initiative to improve our city when the report comes back to council.

 

Yours,
X

 


(3) Other Against
Doug Holyday (3 Etobicoke Centre)
Cliff Jenkins (25 Don Valley West)
Denzil Minnan-Wong (34 Don Valley East)
Case Ootes (29 Toronto-Danforth)
Frances Nunziata (11 York South-Weston)
Mike Del Grande (39 Scarborough-Agincourt)

 


Thanks Everyone!
 
Also if you get a chance check out: http://publictransitcoalition.ca/ for a rally on Wednesday April 21st, 6pm in Council Chambers concerning the recent Provincial cuts.

 

Devon
BeautifulCity.ca


Denzil's Failed Motion to Remove Shelley's Motion, April 15 2010

- cr 33 -


Community Release
April 8, 2010

Octopus Wrestling at City Hall, Progress! - Quotes from Smitherman, Carroll, Fletcher, Moscoe, Davis, Pantalone, Mihevc, Hopkinson..
 --> Info following quotes about yesterdays' 11/1 billboard-tax-for-art win at Exec. 
 
// QUOTES OF SUPPORT //
"This will open the door to stronger funding for the arts - this not a Kafka novel, I promise. Keep at it and elect arts friendly city builders to council."
Councillor Mihevc
 
"At the first debate in the Mayor's race, I called for funds generated by the billboard tax to be put to use enhancing our arts and culture sector and improving the public realm. It's good to see that the city is finally fulfilling the pledge they made to Beautiful City."
George Smitherman, Mayoral Candidate
 
"We have kick-started the culture plan!"
Councillor Janet Davis
 
"I am 1000 percent behind the billboard tax going to art."
Councillor Joe Pantalone, Mayoral Candidate
 
"Arts and cultural organizations have a huge economic impact on cities. They stimulate creativity and create vital communities that generate jobs and revenues. They are employers, producers and key promoters of our city. Arts and cultural organizations have a crucial impact on our economy. But they also deepen our understanding of the human spirit, extending our capacity to understand others and imagine how to create a better world. Our municipal government must set the stage of support for our arts and cultural organizations. I believe the billboard tax collected should be applied to supporting arts and cultural organizations in Toronto."
Sarah Thompson, Mayoral Candidate

"Most of council made a commitment that the money from the tax on the billboards that are scarring our city should go to beautification of the city through the arts. As a former art teacher, I am strongly in favour of the funds going to art for young people in priority neighborhoods. Cultural participation is an essential part of developing well rounded individuals and thus healthy, safer and more vibrant communities in general."
Councillor Moscoe
 
"Toronto Arts Council congratulates Executive Committee, and in particular Budget Chief Shelley Carroll, for today's ringing endorsement of Toronto's arts community. Everyone with Beautiful City Alliance who has worked so hard to put the arts at the forefront of the city agenda deserves a big vote of thanks."
Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director TAC
 
"It's a great day for the arts sector and Toronto's economy. The arts are a $96 billion industry that employs 86,000 people. In 2003, City Council adopted the Culture Plan and I would like to see us live up to our obligation to meet the goals laid out in that plan. Utilizing the new revenue stream created by the Billboard Tax to increase our investment in this key sector will provide organizations like the Toronto Arts Council with the resources they need to enhance their support of artists and arts activities in every discipline and every neighbourhood."
Councillor Paula Fletcher
 
"Time is running out. Council must finish the work it started in 2003. The Creative City Culture Plan expands municipal support for arts and culture to the outer edges of our city limits and touches every child, youth and senior citizen if we succeed!"
Councillor Shelley Carroll
 

 

// INFO //
A motion by Shelley Carroll was passed 11/1 that directed staff to report back on implementing the Culture Plan including bringing per capita spending up to 25 dollars per person (in-line with the investment made by comparable cities across North America) within the context of the new revenue from the billboard tax. The item is to be brought forward within this mandate but still needs to pass council (April 15/16).
 
Hats-off and thank you to the following councillors who made an extra effort in speaking up and winning the day: Paula Fletcher, Pam McConnell, Joe Pantalone, Shelley Carroll and especially Howard Moscoe. If you feel like thanking them, the numbers are here. Also thank you to the councillors and staff who did not speak up but were working the back channels.
 
Barbs and phone calls to mayoral canditate Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7 York West / councillor_mammoliti@toronto.ca  / 416-395-6401) for being the only councillor on Exec. against the motion and divisively trying to pit the needs of senior citizens against a city building initiative by young people. Give him a ring or email and let how you feel about using the arts as a punching bag to win votes in the upcoming election. Ask your grandma (or anyone over 65) to give his ear a pull too and tell him this is not how seniors in this city want to be represented.
 
Good stuff people and remember -- we're going into an election, let's keep the arts and vibrant communities a priority issue!
 
Thank you
BeautifulCity.ca

 


// RECENT MEDIA //
Public-space advocates point out that the city would not even have the extra money from the billboard tax if it wasn't for arts groups proposing and pushing for it. "The city has always been broke and that's why we came up with this idea as a way to fund the kind of improvements that we wanted," Devon Ostrom, of beautifulcity.ca."The perpetual crisis is the way to suck the air out of the debate and I don't think anyone should fall for it. I think there are structural problems that the city needs to address, but I don't think that should ever come at the expense of [citizen led] city building." Mr. Ostrom pointed to the economic impacts of the arts community and pointed to a study that found that for every one dollar spent on arts, the city gets eight back.
Natalie Alcoba, "City to study increase in arts funding" National Post Thursday, April 08, 2010 http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/toronto/story.html?id=2776120#ixzz0kWxkbR3f

 


"Detractors think arts funding is beneficial only to downtowners, but the money would actually help spur creativity throughout the city, said Councillor Paula Fletcher. The arts employ some 86,000 people and make a huge contribution to the city's economy, she said. "This is not a handout," she added. "This is a prudent investment in a strategic piece of Toronto's economy."
Paul Moloney, "Artists left starving for billboard bucks" Toronto Star, April 07, 2010 http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/791804--artists-left-starving-for-billboard-bucks 

 


Devon Ostrom, the leader of the Beautiful City campaign, said he would be happy to see the billboard cash help fulfill that target, so long as some of the money goes to youth and "marginalized" communities creating art in public spaces. Still, he said it is unfortunate Torontonians won't see the tangible benefits of the billboard tax until after the election. "I don't see why Toronto needs to settle for mediocrity," he said.
Kelly Grant, "Budget chief wants revenue from new billboard tax to support the arts" Globe and Mail, April 07, 2010 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/budget-chief-wants-revenue-from-new-billboard-tax-to-support-the-arts/article1525791/ 

 


The BeautifulCity.ca Alliance, co-founded by Devon Ostrom, is an example of nine years of advocacy and mobilization that brought over 300 members of the arts community to council chambers in December 2009. BeautifulCity.ca is a predominantly youth led alliance of 60 organizations who first introduced a tax on billboards in 2001 as a means of beautifying Toronto and giving voice to high-need communities. They believe that vibrant public spaces enhance property values and increase traffic for small businesses, boost civic pride and tourism, build community cohesion and give something highly visible back to residents. The efforts of the group resulted in over 4,500 people signing a petition in support of a billboard tax (with the revenues going to support arts and culture), a 2007 Environics and 2009 EKOS poll that demonstrated that seven out of 10 Torontonians were in favour of the tax as well as hundreds of people calling their local councillors and becoming civically engaged.
Shahina Sayani, "Billboard tax should go to the arts" My City / The Star, April 07, 2010 http://thestar.blogs.com/yourcitymycity/2010/04/citizen-participation.html

 


Instead, she put forward a motion asking staff to look at ways to use the new billboard tax as a justification for increased arts funding. The move was an attempt to mollify arts activists, who supported the billboard tax hoping it would provide guaranteed funding to the arts. Carroll made it clear she wasn't prepared to go quite that far.  "I'm not directing that exact dollars in the billboard tax go towards the arts - just to report back on how we might fund the arts," she said. "In fact, we've dragged our heels for so long now it will take more than the billboard revenue to catch up. We're down at $18 per capita on arts spending - in Montreal, the city is at $25 per capita." Devon Ostrom of the arts group beautifulcity.ca was cautiously optimistic following Carroll's motion. "I think they're going in the right direction; it's a matter of making sure they keep going in the right direction," he said.
David Nickel, "Mayoral politics played out as committee discusses budget," April 7 2010
http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/cityhall/article/661439

 


Here's some of what's at stake:
•Whether the visual pollution created by billboards will be counteracted by arts funding for the public sphere, or whether a billboard tax becomes like parking tickets and stripper licenses a new revenue stream for the city's tax base.
•Whether or not the original intent of the tax as presented to Council, recommended by City Staff, and supported by Torontonians by a 5-1 margin in a recent EKOS poll is actually reflected in the budget.
Michael Wheeler, "It's a huge week for arts funding in Toronto" April 9, 2009
http://praxistheatre.com/2010/04/its-a-huge-week-for-arts-funding-in-toronto/comment-page-1/#comment-2676


// NOTES ON THE LAWSUIT FILED BY OMAC AND PATTISON //
For Rami of illegalsigns.ca's analysis, check out http://illegalsigns.ca/2010/04/07/city-hit-with-two-lawsuits-over-billboard-tax/

 

Regarding the claim of an indirect tax, at the PGM meeting in November 2009 where the industry could depute every single part of the industry from fabricators, to designers, to industry associations, to operators, to property owners and everyone in-between seemed to contradict each other by saying that the tax would ultimately fall on them. Some also said the consumer: http://torontoist.com/2009/12/billboard_companies_protest_their_regulationon_illegal_billboards.php So who is it then?

 

At an ethical level, every other form of advertising subsidizes some sort of educational or enjoyable content in exchange for attention. (e.g. TV = 25% ads for 75% content, newspapers about 50/50). Billboard operators don't have to do that as people don't have a choice in viewing their messages. They are doing virtually nothing to support enjoyable or educational content. As advertisers they have broken the contract with the public. In fact, it could be inferred that industry is making record profits (up 11-19% in 2008) undermining the viability of other, democratic / participative / content supporting media outlets in providing "the lowest cost per thousand impressions of any media" and passing the full cost onto public spaces.

 

We should look at public spaces as a conversation, and in a conversation it is always the responsibility of the strongest voice to ensure the smallest voices are heard.

- cr 32 -

 

 

 

                                                             

LNB Ep 8 - Devon Ostrum - Beautiful City Alliance from Late Night in the Bedroom on Vimeo.



Daniel Libby, Toronto Media Co-op Video 1, March 25, 2010
Daniel Libby,Toronto Media Co-op Video 2, March 25, 2010  

 


Community Release
March 17, 2010

 


// GOOD NEWS, KEEP SHAKING TREE ! //
Budget Committee has approved an increase to the Community Partnerships and Investments Program "in recognition of the work on the billboard tax." This is great as it will provide almost a million additional dollars for community led programming including everything from food programs for high-need kids to art in major institutions every year! The bad news is that it is a bit short of the 2.5 million left from the billboard tax for art projections this year and 9 million next. Additionally, not targeted to enhancing public spaces with art as the increase is essentially a 2% cost of living / inflationary adjustment to existing programs. For example it presently means only about 300K will go directly to Toronto's hundreds of arts organizations. Some have said that the arts avoided a 5% cut in general -- but that is a bit silly in the context of a 100 million dollar surplus and that the billboard tax for art is more than 5% of arts funding - find other arguments here: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/bcarguments.pdf

 

However! Budget Chief Shelley Carroll also stated that there will be a "much improved plan" going forward to specifically benefit the arts at the April 7th Executive meeting (Committee Room 1, 9:30am - please save the date / RSVP at the facebook group here: http://tinyurl.com/yf233sn) Our position is that substantial resources need accompany the go-forward plan this year -- conditions are good and positive precedent needs to be set in order for the policy to survive the election.There is no good reason settle on mediocrity...please help make this point via the 2 minute action below.

 


// 2 MINUTE ACTION ! //
The calls and emails are working. We need to do a round of really polite calls and emails to the Mayor, Pants and Shelley urging them to put the resources behind the billboard tax for art this year. Please call in (or email separately) something like the below. If possible, please reword, put a personal story and challenge if emailed back.

 

Mayor Miller -  416-397-2489 / mayor_miller@toronto.ca
Councillor Shelley Carroll -  416-392-4038 / councillor_carroll@toronto.ca
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone - 416-392-4009 / councillor_pantalone@toronto.ca

 
 

Dear Mayor Miller:
Dear Councillor Carroll:
Dear Councillor Pantalone:

 

Thank you for moving forward on the billboard tax for enhancing public spaces with art. It is going to do amazing things for Toronto: vibrant public spaces enhance property values and increase traffic for small businesses; they boost civic pride and tourism, build community cohesion and give something highly visible back to residents. With the surplus, the city has the resources to accomplish the commitments of the Culture Plan and Agenda for Prosperity, ensure marginalized youth have a voice and thus ownership in their communities and support hundreds of beautification projects across every ward.

 

Let's move this dream and opportunity for building a better city one big step forward and into reality. I urge you to do something bold and innovative. There is no good reason to settle on mediocrity with this issue. Significant resources need to be allotted this year to set a positive precedent for next year. Please think of all the community enhancing projects that could happen this summer and the tremendous amount of goodwill that will be generated.

 

Thank you for your time,
your name

 


>> BONUS ADD-ON - FOLD IN A LITTLE HISTORY
If you feel like getting creative with your pitch, please attach one or more of the images to fold a bit of history back into the process. Click the links for full sized or download the entire pack here: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/history.zip
Nov. 2001 - Culture Plan Youth Consultation Summary http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/consult.jpg
Oct. 2007 – Presentation to Council: New Taxation Measures: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/tocouncil.jpg
Oct. 2009 – Staff Report, Results from Public Consultations: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/publicconsult.jpg
Oct. 2009 – City Press Release http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/pressrelease.jpg
Dec. 2009 - EKOS Poll http://www.beautifulcity.ca/ekos.pdf
Dec. 2009 – Staff Presentation to Council: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/presentation2.jpg
Dec. 2009 - Post-vote Inside Toronto Article: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/insideTO.jpg
Feb. 2010 – NRU Article http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/time/NRU-2010.jpg

Sample: Culture Plan Youth Consultation Summary, Nov. 2001



>> Please Share / Spread the Word: http://tinyurl.com/yf233sn

 


March 10, 2010
Attention News Editors

Surplus Breathes Life into Budget: Billboard Tax for Art Resurrected

>> Unexpected surplus creates an excellent opportunity for Council to follow through on their commitment to youth arts and beautification - investing in a better future for Toronto <<

Toronto, ON // Last week citizens, young people and mayoral candidates gathered at the „InVoice‟ Town Hall (photos: http://tinyurl.com/yz28kob ) and were told, despite City Councillor's desire to put funds raised through the billboard tax toward enhancing public spaces with art, the money was simply not available in the budget. The Mayoral announcement of a 100 million dollar surplus in the City's budget may change all that - giving Council a chance to set things straight.

"An amazing opportunity has opened up for the Budget Committee to follow through on their expressed support for investment in our public spaces and to act with the strong citizen engagement process that brought these funds to the table," states Devon Ostrom, a co-founder of BeautifulCity.ca. Ostrom notes that despite overwhelming support for a billboard tax to fund city arts and beautification projects, many were beginning to feel that their energy, limited resources and enthusiasm had been used to merely get money from the billboard industry. "That‟s not what this is about," he explained, "it's about diversifying access to expression in public spaces, creating opportunities for community engagement and improving how our city looks." Now with an unexpected surplus on the table it looks like Council has the capacity to meet those goals.

What could this do for Toronto?
- Vibrant public spaces enhance property values and increase traffic for small businesses; they boost civic pride and tourism, build community cohesion and give something back to residents.
- Strategic investment is an important part of long-term fiscal stability. A McKinsey and Co. study in 2006 found that "for every 1 dollar of public arts funding in a regional economy, 8 are generated."
- Toronto is falling behind other cities in relative cultural spending: according to the Martin Prosperity Institute after inflation, cultural funding has been stagnant since 1991 and average cities around the country have expanded their cultural expenditures by more than 4 times as much as Toronto, putting the city on the low end of competitive growth.
- According to EKOS Research, 80% of Torontonians think that government investment in the arts in public spaces improves the local economy and only 18% support the funds going to general revenue.

History
BeautifulCity.ca is a youth led alliance of 60 organizations who first introduced the tax in 2001 as a means of beautifying Toronto and giving voice to high-need communities. The proposal is backed by three rounds of public opinion polls EKOS (2009) Environics (2007) and Pollara (2005) and a 4667 person petition. The tax as a means to enhance public spaces with art was council's original direction to staff and repeated in city press releases, over 45 times in council chambers, two rounds of public consultations and multiple staff presentations (see archive and polls here: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=29 ).

Media Inquiries
Devon Ostrom devon@beautifulcity.ca +16472674221
Julia Che - Agents of Change Julia@beautifulcity.ca +14169281978

- xiii-

 


Mike Smith, The Battle Over Beautification, Now Magazine, March 4,
Canadian Business / CNW

 



Feb 24 2010

BeautifulCity.ca Town Hall: InVoice
6:30pm March 1st, Committee Room #2, City Hall
 
** Featuring: Live painting by Elicser Elliot, Lexr and Celo // Music by Tanika Charles and Deejay L'Oqenz **

 

INFO
Join city builders, young people, artists, academics, councillors and mayoral candidates to determine positive steps forward for BeautifulCity.ca and learn about how to make the city budget process work for you. Open discussion will follow concerning the value of building vibrant and democratic public spaces. Moderated by: Ravi Jain (WhyNot Theatre, ArtsVote), Sabra Ripley (Community Health Advocate, HoP, B-girl) and Che Kothari (Manifesto Community Projects.)
 
BACKGROUND
The billboard tax has been passed but zero new money has been invested in beautifying or democratizing access to public spaces with art in the 2010 Budget. This goes against highly favourable public opinion polls by EKOS (2009) Environics (2007) and Pollara (2005) and a 4500 person petition, 60 endorsements by organizations and reams of city plans to build a successful Toronto for the long-term. City councillors from across the political spectrum have also been very supportive of a billboard tax to fund art in committee, council and the press. Similarly, public consultations, staff and consultant's reports stated that the purpose of the tax was to support arts and city beautification projects.
 
We are not really sure what happened, however the budget has not passed yet. It's time to get a bit pissed -- then get smart and help correct this mistake by coming to the town hall. It worked to get the tax. It might just work to take it back!
 

 

TAKE ACTION
Join / Invite / Spread the word via Facebook Page:
http://tinyurl.com/yzwsno7
E-flyer:
http://bit.ly/cv1RxE  
 
MORE INFO & COUNCIL VIDEO
http://www.beautifulcity.ca
 

 

GUEST ARTIST LINKS
http://www.myspace.com/tanikacharles
http://www.loqenz.com 
http://www.elicser.com 
http://www.alexahatanaka.com
http://loganmiller.carbonmade.com 

MODERATOR LINKS
http://www.theatrewhynot.org
http://www.houseofpaint.ca
http://www.artsvotetoronto.ca
http:///www.themanifesto.ca

DOCUMENTATION BY
http://www.latenightinthebedroom.com
http://www.meghanj.ca

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
http://www.thetyc.ca
http://www.themanifesto.ca
http://www.beautifulcity.ca   

 


** Please forward and spread the word. See you on Monday! **


Adriana Alarcón, Art Vs Brawn, Praxis, Feb 22 2010


Feb 17, 2010, Toronto
For Immediate Release
City Hall Desk > Arts Desk

 

Budget Process:  BeautifulCity.ca Set to 'InVoice' City Hall

 >> Zero new money in budget for enhancing public spaces with art // BeautifulCity.ca Town Hall: 'InVoice' March 1st  6:30pm City Hall, Committee Room #2 // View video of previous town hall here: http://vimeo.com/5639645   <<

Toronto, Canada // After unanimous endorsement by the PGM Committee followed by a 29/12 win at Council in Dec. 2009 (drastically improving regulation of billboards) the final decision on the billboard tax for art has been set to occur at some point during the budget process. The new tax was justified as going to enhanced funding for art in public spaces in staff and consultant reports, public consultations, city press releases, over 45 times in Council and a wide variety of media outlets after. 

 

In yesterday's Staff Recommended 2010 Operating Budget, zero new money has been allotted to enhancing public spaces with art. The rationale is that the arts avoided a 5% cut in general. However, the billboard tax revenues are significantly more than 5% of the present arts budget. It is also undemocratic (i.e. without public consultation, council direction or a vote) to assume that a 5% cut could have been automatically applied to some of the city's most popular, already anemic and least resource intensive programs. Additionally, 'the arts in general' is a different than enhancing public spaces with arts (Executive Committee's original direction and the basis that the tax was sold to the public in consultations.)

 

A large number Councillors stated their support for enhancing public spaces with art through the new tax. Budget Chief and Toronto's Official Youth Advocate, Councillor Shelley Carroll moved the billboard tax revenues to the operating budget process as a safeguard to effectively direct the funds. In council she repeatedly underscored the need to follow-though on the city's commitment to the Agenda for Prosperity and Culture Plan and was reported in Inside Toronto as promising that the funds would be targeted toward to the arts.  Mayor Miller was also recorded as saying that he would "to use the new revenues to achieve the goals of our cultural plan," In council, Councillor Rae stated "I am committed, deeply to the funds, going to, as the Hemson report suggested into the public realm and to the arts." Spacing reported that "every single member of Budget Committee has expressed their support for a billboard tax that funds arts and public realm enhancements." BeautifulCity.ca, understands the budget pressures. We have proposed a solution in our policy document and look forward to working with these councillors to ensure that funding dedicated to enhancing public spaces with art.

 

Quick Facts
1. According to EKOS Research, only 18% of Torontonians are supportive of a billboard tax with the funds going into general revenue.
2. Over 4500 people have signed a petition of support and over 60 organizations have endorsed BeautifulCity.ca
3. The city would not even have the tax without the arts community coming up with the idea and pushing it through for the past 8 years.
4. The revenue is only 0.04% of the budget this year, 0.09% of next – Torontonians will get no visible benefit if it goes to increasing funding for entrenched interests – but if it goes to art in public spaces the effect will be revolutionary in supporting youth arts programs and creating a more vibrant city.
5. According to EKOS Research, 80% of Torontonians think that government investment in the arts in public spaces improves the local economy.
6. After inflation, cultural funding has been stagnant since 1991 and most artists live below the poverty line and also work non-arts jobs.
7. According to the Martin Prosperity Institute average cities around the country have expanded their cultural expenditures by more than 4 times as much as Toronto, putting the city on the low end of competitive growth.
8. Fiscal stability should include strategic investment: a McKinsey and Co. study in 2006 found that "for every 1 dollar of public arts funding in a regional economy, 8 are generated."
9. Vibrant public spaces enhance property values, boost tourism, give something visible back to residents and will help build the city for the long-term.

 

Call to Action
- Call your city councillor and ask them to support the funds going to enhancing public spaces in accordance to how the tax was conceived and sold to the public.
- Register your arts, public space or arts related organizations to depute at Budget Committee (buc@toronto.ca) with your name, title, deputation subject and address for March 1st.
- Show your support at the BeautifulCity.ca Town Hall: 'InVoice,' on March 1st 6:30pm in Committee Room 2 at City Hall.

 

Resources
Watch a Recap Video of PGM & Council:
http://www.beautifulcity.ca
Download Position Paper (including transcripts, EKOS Poll):
http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/BC-BudgetProcess.pdf
Register for Town Hall Updates:
http://tinyurl.com/yzwsno7
Download and pass on this PDF
http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/BC-PR11.pdf    


Media Inquiries
Devon Ostrom
devon@beautifulcity.ca 
+16472674221

 

Julia Che
Agents of Change
Julia@beautifulcity.ca
+14169281978


Staff Writer, 'Sign Bylaw Revenue,' NRU - City of Toronto Edition, Feb. 12 2010 (pdf)

 

Feb. 3, 2010
New Policy Doc - Released for Public Review
Recommendation for Dedication of Billboard Tax Revenue through the Budget Process
http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bc/BC-BudgetProcess.pdf  (1 mb)


Media Excerpts - To Jan 20, 2010

"The new Sign Regulation and Revenue Strategy also recommends the implementation of a Third-Party Sign Tax, under the authority of Section 267 of the City of Toronto Act, to support the administration and enforcement of the new Sign Bylaw, as well as city beautification and ongoing investment in arts and culture in response to City Council's direction of October 2007"
City Press Release, October 28, 2009

 


"Arts and public space activists, meanwhile, remained optimistic despite the fact council offered no assurance the approximately $9 million of revenue would go toward the arts. Council passed a motion from Budget Committee Chair Shelley Carroll asking the disposition of the tax revenues go to the budget committee, which she promised would be targeted toward the arts…Mayor David Miller supported the bylaw and said arts organizations can rest easy."
David Nickle, "City billboards will be under one bylaw, council approve," Inside Toronto, Dec. 8, 2009

 


"2009 - Visually, the story of Beautifulcity.ca would make a good musical. On one side of the stage, you'd have a group of young artists, photographers, theatre actors and producers singing about evil billboards and, on the other side, dancing lobbyists and corporate executives wearing suits and cardboard cut-outs of advertisements. This scene has played out, minus the theatrical flair, at City Hall over the past few months. The culmination of an almost eight-year campaign to get the city to tax billboards and use the money to fund public art, the group of artists behind Beautifulcity.ca collected more than 4,500 signatures on a petition and garnered the support of more than 50 organizations including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Elementary Teachers of Toronto. On Dec. 6, city council approved a new billboard tax that is expected to generate $10.4-million a year."
Maryam Siddiqi "Out with the aughts: The decade in which Torontonians became more engaged with their city" National Post Dec 24, 2009

 


"With little but an imperative to act, a willingness to collaborate, and the long-suffering of an ascetic, this determined group of young people were able to establish some cultural sustainability within the city by successfully petitioning council for a new tax on billboards, with a percentage of the monies generated going to a fund for city beautification through local arts. The billboard tax passed a day or so ago, at $10.4 million in revenue annually along with the new bylaw!"
Kwende Kefentse, "Congrads to a BeautifulCity.ca," Creative Class, Dec 10

 


"In any case, the city looks to create about $9 million in revenue for beautification and cultural projects — and that's after they've accounted for the 19-member billboard-enforcement team."
Chris Bilton, "Billboard-tax bylaw passed – finally!" EyeWeekly Dec. 7, 2009

 


While Miller offered his assurances the tax will be spent on city beautification projects, others disagreed. "This money's not going to the arts. You know it's not going to the arts. Everyone in this room knows it's not going to the arts," argued Rob Ford, claiming the revenues instead would be swallowed up by the city's burgeoning operating budget. "The arts and culture people who have been working hard thinking they're getting this money -- you're not getting this money."
Bryn Weese, The Writing's on the Wall, Sun Media, Dec. 8 2009

 


"Part of that money is expected to be used to pay for arts programs in the city. City staff, Mayor David Miller and artist advocacy groups all welcomed the move. Devon Ostrom, who is part of a group called beautifulcity.ca, took up the cause to introduce the tax as a means to raise money for public art and improve the city's visual landscape. He said council's decision to support the tax is a major win. "Most other forms of advertising, they give something back in exchange of attention," he told CBC News, ""If you look at TV, you get 45 minutes of content for 15 minutes of advertising. With magazines, it's about 50-50, and with newspapers it's the same." But that rule doesn't apply to billboards a wrong that the new law rectifies, he said"
Staff Writer, "Toronto billboard tax approved," CBC News, Monday Dec 7, 2009

 


"I'm confident it's going to go to the arts because the budget committee has the moral responsibility at this point," he said. "The tax wouldn't exist without the arts community coming forward and pushing for it, or even inventing it in the first place." But Councillor Kyle Rae, who sits on the budget committee, warned he can't offer guarantees. "I can't give them that because council is supreme, and council waffles and prevaricates and changes its mind whenever the wind blows in another direction," said Rae (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale). Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul's) was more reassuring. He said the city was simply following normal procedure by routing the revenue through the budget process."
Torstar News Service, "City OK's billboard tax , fraction of money may go towards arts," Metro News, Dec 8, 2009

 


"After a long campaign by public space activists, the City of Toronto passed a tax on billboards. The CBC reported that the new tax is expected to raise $10.4 million, part of which will pay for arts programs in the city. The tax will come into effect in April 2010."
Toronto Media Co-op, "Toronto Month in Review – December," Toronto Media Co-op, Dec 31  2009

 


"About $1.4-million of the money the tax generates will go to covering the cost of enforcement, the rest into the city coffers to be allocated during the budget process. Council decided not to immediately commit the money to arts programs, but activists said yesterday they're confident that is where it will end up."
Natalie Alcova, "City Council approves billboard tax, more user fees," National Post / Global TV Dec 8. 2009

 


"Council took a "fair and reasonable path" in controlling the way private companies use public spaces, while ensuring a portion of their profits go back to Torontonians, Mayor David Miller said after the vote. The changes are a victory for community organizations that have lobbied for a billboard tax for years, arguing that those profiting off the city's public space should give a little back. Their original desire to have the money earmarked for public art has been postponed until the city hashes out its budget in the coming months."
Anna Mehler Paperny, "Toronto passes sweeping new billboard rules," Globe and Mail, Dec 8


"Ad nausum: The advertising Industry goes postal over a billboard tax that's expected to subsidize public art programs."
Staff Writer "The Temperature" Toronto Life, Feb 2010

 

 

 

VOTEWATCH / VICTORY – Tax Passed 29/12 at 10.4 Million, Next Stop Budget Committee

 

HOW IT WENT DOWN
The billboard tax passed at $10.4 million in revenue annually along with a new and very strong bylaw governing billboards. This massive step forward means that thousands of arts projects will eventually be funded and that many of the problems associated with excessive and illegal billboard signage are finally being addressed. We are in support of Councillor Shelley Carroll's motion to deal with the disbursement of funds in the 2010 Budget Process. She has made a firm commitment that it will go to city beautification through the arts and in no way wants her motion to be perceived as taking the money away. We trust that she will keep her word. It needed to be done this way to get it through Council at the amount necessary to compensate Torontonians properly for use of public space and not have a bunch of councillors' personal agendas eat away at the allotment. To be short, it was the best way to get a winning vote.

 

That said, it must be mentioned that the majority of Torontonians are/were less likely to support this tax if it does not go to art (See Ekos Poll http://www.beautifulcity.ca/ekos.pdf ).  Additionally, the allotment to art has also been a central part of how this tax has been sold to the public -- it's in almost all of the staff reports; Executive Committee, Planning and Growth Management Committee and independently commissioned research and press states that the funds will eventually go to arts. The councillors on the Budget Committee have all supported billboard tax revenue going to arts and city beautification in their statements to Beautiful City and also know that they would not have the new funds without the arts community thinking up the idea and ushering it through the system. Budget Committee now has the moral obligation to properly finish this process when they deliberate on the budget this winter.

 

We won it. Might not be how we wanted it in our wildest dreams but this is the next best thing! According to political veterans we ran an Obama-caliber campaign and proved that the arts have serious muscle in this town.

 


PARTY 2 - FRIDAY - 'HOUSEPAINT, PHASE 3: FIRESALE,' CLOSING RECEPTION
11:00AM-8:00PM @ 52 McCaul St. North of Queen West / FREE / Presented by Well and Good.
The final public view of works that were once part of the first major exhibition of street art in Canada -- as well as the original installation at the former tent city site. Proceeds will go to outstanding costs, the successful implementation and monitoring of the billboard tax by BeautifulCity.ca.  Housepaint artists included: Cant4, Case, Fauxreel, Royal, Dstrbo (HVW8), EGR, Elicser, Evoke, Specter, Starship (HVW8), Lease, and Other. Innovative and recognizable, the fire sale features works covered in the following media outlets: Canadian Art Magazine, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Azure, Inside Toronto, The Space Channel, 24 Hours, The Canadian Press, Art Daily, Toronto Living, The National Post and many-many more. We got bills to pay so no reasonable offer will be refused. Only 20 of the original 50 lots are left. View remaining works here: http://housepaint.ca/photos/housepaintcollection/40.html   
For sales info, contact steve@wellandgood.ca 

 


PARTY 3 - FRIDAY - 'PETE ROCK'
9pm @ Sound Academy / Dec. 11 / 19+ Event / Free w. RSVP
Manifesto Holiday and Beautifulcity.ca Victory Party Part I.
RSVP Here: http://themanifesto.ca/rsvp/peterock/

 


PARTY 4 - SATURDAY - 'THE MAIN INGREDIENT, FEAT. 45 KING'
10 PM @ Revival & Stone Lounge / Dec. 12 / 19+ Event / Free w. RSVP
Manifesto Holiday and Beautifulcity.ca Victory Party Part II.
RSVP Here: http://themanifesto.ca/rsvp/mainingredient/  (Limited Free Spots)

 


PRESS
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/toronto-passes-sweeping-new-billboard-rules/article1392577/
http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/12/08/12075961-sun.html
http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/story.cfm?content=172761
http://news.ca.msn.com/local/toronto/article.aspx?cp-documentid=22816715
http://spacing.ca/wire/2009/12/08/billboard-tax-what-really-happened-to-arts-funding/
http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/cityhall/article/228272--city-billboards-will-be-under-one-bylaw-council-approves
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/12/07/toronto-billboard-tax693.html
http://spacing.ca/wire/2009/12/07/city-council-votes-for-a-beautiful-city/

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/cbc/091207/canada/canada_toronto_toronto_billboard_tax693
http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/local/article/390798--city-ok-s-billboard-tax-fraction-of-money-may-go-towards-arts

http://spacing.ca/wire/2009/12/07/city-council-votes-for-a-beautiful-city/
http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20091207/091207_billboard_tax/20091207/?hub=CP24Home

http://www.globaltoronto.com/City+Council+approves+billboard/2313464/story.html
http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/65349--city-council-approves-billboard-tax
http://www.blogto.com/city/2009/12/billboard_tax_bylaw_passed_by_toronto_city_council/
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/735419--toronto-passes-billboard-tax?bn=1
http://www.mondoville.com/2009/12/billboard-activists-told-to-get-jobs-billboard-lobbyists-forced-to-join-them/ 
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2009/12/07/council-approves-billboard-tax-may-not-pass-it-along-to-artists.aspx
http://torontoist.com/2009/12/signed_and_delivered.php#more


VOTEWATCH / Delayed till Monday, Dec. 7th

Global TV

 

Globe Investor (CNW)

Toronto Star Blog

 

Spacing

EyeWeekly

 

Mondoville

The Toronto Observer

T.

Scenic America Blog

Canoe Money (CNW)

 

Humber Et Cetera


Attention Editors / Community Release
Dec. 3 2009
 
Billboard Tax Vote Resumes Friday: Councillor's Motion Disrespects Majority of Torontonians
 
>> Controversial motion by Councillor Norm Kelly guts staff recommendations and discounts public input: Tax halved, number of billboards allowed effectively doubled. Kelly also pushes for electronic billboards everywhere, closer to intersections, to be bigger and lax light pollution standards<<
 
Voting on the billboard tax for art and enforcement is set to resume on Friday Dec. 4. (Estimated start time 10am). Currently on the floor is a controversial motion by Councillor Kelly that would:
- Half the tax devoted to beautifying the city with arts and culture - after reducing the amount twice already.
- Allow LED/electronic copy billboards in all neighbourhoods - trusting the industry not to use them as video boards.
- Reducing the required distance of billboards to intersections from 30 to 6 meters - opening up hundreds of new billboard locations in suburban neighbourhoods and impacting driver safety.
- Increasing the allowable height of all wall signs to a colossal 20 meters.
- Reducing the lights-off provision - designed to reduce light pollution to protect the health of apartment dwellers and migrating birds.

 

The motion goes against staff recommendations, over 1000 public submissions, a 4500 strong petition as well as 7 out of 10 Torontonians who in an earlier Environics Poll supported "the city working to reduce the number of billboards in general."

 

BeautifulCity.ca encourages concerned residents to call their councillor and the mayor to let them know what they think about such measures.
 
 
/ RESOURCES /
Kelly's Motion: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/KellyMotion1.pdf
OMAC Circular: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/omacneeds.pdf
Environics Poll: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bcbf/Environics.pdf  
EKOS Poll: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/ekos.pdf   
Economic Impact Study: http://tinyurl.com/ylcy5c8 
'Why Art' http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bcbf/BC-WhyArts.pdf 
Watch on TV: http://www.rogerstv.com/option.asp?rid=16&lid=12&sid=1030 

 

/ INQUIRES /
Devon Ostrom
devon@beautifulcity.ca
6472674221
Julia Che
Agents of Change
julia@beautifulcity.ca
4169281978
 
- xiii -

 

VOTEWATCH / FRIDAY, VERY LIKELY 10:00AM

 

Guardian Blog, UK (bottom of page)

 

Torontoist

Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail

 

CityTV

Canadian Business Online (CNW)

Spacing

Spacing

National Post

 


VOTEWATCH // DECISION DELAYED TILL TOMORROW AFTERNOON. STAND BY FOR DETAILS.

 


Media Advisory / Community Release
November 30, 2009

Majority Supported Billboard Tax, Going to Vote on Dec. 1st at 9:30am
 
Toronto, ON - The long awaited vote to put a tax on billboards with the funds going to art and enforcement is expected to begin at on Dec. 1 on 9:30am.

 

All eyes are on Council following the release of a new EKOS Research poll that found 70% of Torontonians support such a tax. The polling also shows that a clear majority are less likely to support the tax if it does not end up supporting the arts. Fully 80% of Torontonians also believe that government investments in arts and culture improve the local economy. The results are based on 700 respondents and are valid +/- 3.7 percentage points 19/20. View at: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/ekos.pdf

 

On Friday, The City of Toronto also released a report by Ryerson University economist Professor David Amborski, refuting many of the claims made by the billboard industry. The report concluded that the proposed billboard tax represents less than 7% of gross industry revenues, that the research methodology of OMAC's Altus Report was flawed and that the tax will not negatively impact the economy. View the report here: http://tinyurl.com/ylcy5c8

 

Beautifulcity.ca will also present a petition that includes over 4300 signatures in support for the billboard tax for art and enforcement. For comparison, this is over twice the number of names submitted against the Land Transfer Tax.

 

A post-vote event is planned for Dec. 1st at 9:00pm at 52 McCaul St.

 


Inquiries

 

Devon Ostrom
devon@beautifulcity.ca
647 267 4221

 

Julia Che
Agents of Change
julia@beautifulcity.ca
4169281978

 

- xii -

 

VOTE WATCH // BeautifulCity.ca Advisory // All Monday morning council shifts canceled. Do not attend. Next advisory at 11:15am Monday to confirm final time. Please stand by and keep calling your Councillors and the Mayor.

 

Also check out the post-vote event: 'Housepaint: Phase 3, Firesale'

 

 

 

Municipal Desk
Nov. 28 / 2009

 


New EKOS Poll Shows 70% Support Billboard Tax For Art And Enforcement

 

Toronto, ON. A new EKOS Research survey shows that a large majority of Toronto support the billboard tax for art in public spaces and by-law enforcement. This city building idea -- first proposed by BeautifulCity.ca in 2002 -- is finally being voted on during the Nov. 30 / Dec. 1 Council session.
 
The polling also shows that a clear majority are less likely to support the tax if it does not end up supporting the arts. Fully 80% of Torontonians also believe that investments in arts and culture improve the local economy. The results are based on 700 respondents and are valid +/- 3.7 percentage points 19/20.
 
The question formatting and results are available below or can be downloaded at: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/ekos.pdf

 

 

 


http://www.beautifulcity.ca/ekos.pdf   
 

 

City's Independent Economic Analysis Released  
>> Billboard Tax Represents 7-8% of Gross Industry Revenues, Altus Report Unfounded and Tax Will Not Negatively Effect Economy <<
 
The City of Toronto has released an independent economic analysis of the proposed Billboard Tax, conducted by Professor David Amborski of Ryerson University. The economic analysis concludes that the proposed billboard tax represents "less than 7% (on average) of estimated annual gross revenue" for Toronto's billboard industry (pg.9).
 
On page 22, Professor David Amborski takes to task OMAC's economic analysis of the tax conducted by Altus Group. David Amborski states that the Altus report, which OMAC has distributed to City Councillors, and which OMAC relies upon to conclude that the tax is unfair,  "is not reflective of the actual third-party sign tax that is being proposed by the City." Furthermore, The Altus report "provides little empirical data, and relies almost exclusively on one source for the information used within the report."
 
The report concludes: "It appears that the tax as proposed is within the rate that has been identified in the examples of charges and taxes presented earlier, capping out at 7-8% of gross annual revenues. There was no evidence that where these charges are in effect, that there have been any significant negative economic impacts." (pg.17)

 


Download the Report Here: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/cc/bgrd/sign/Appendix%20J.pdf 

 


Beautifulcity.ca Petition Reaches Over 4000 Signatures  
>> Over 4000 people from every Toronto Ward have signed a petition supporting a tax on billboards to fund art in public spaces and better enforcement of billboard bylaws, to view a copy, contact bcbf@beautifulcity.ca <<
 

Inquires

 


Devon Ostrom
devon@beautifulcity.ca

 

 

 

Julia Che
Agents of Change
julia@beautifulcity.ca
416 928 1978

 

 

 

http://www.beautifulcity.ca

 

- ix -  

 

NOW Magazine, Nov 26, 2009

 

 

 

NEW POLICY DOC - NOV. 24
New Policy Doc Released - Rationale to Keep Billboard Tax Revenues Alloted to Art in Public Spaces

 



BLOG ROLL! WE LOVES YA TOO...
http://www.mondoville.com/2009/11/marketing-association-bashes-billboard-tax-with-belligerent-website/
http://neditpasmoncoeur.blogspot.com/2009/11/beautiful-city-builds-billboard-tax-for.html
http://www.formatmag.com/blogs/billboard-torontos-tax-art-vote-nov-30-dec-1st/
http://www.existingvisual.com/2009/11/19/billboard-toronto%E2%80%99s-tax-for-art-going-to-vote-nov-30-dec-1st/
http://freedomfighterskateboards.wordpress.com/
http://praxistheatre.com/2009/11/a-smart-reasonable-effective-way-to-fund-art/
http://www.akimbo.ca/news/index.php?id=478
http://bcurrentnews.blogspot.com/2009/11/billboard-tax-for-art-going-to-vote-nov_20.html
http://www.formatmag.com/news/beautiful-city-billboard-tax-art-initiative/
http://www.4real.com/blog/details.asp?p=4REAL&rid=9980
http://hustlegrl.com/blog/2009/11/too-many-billboards-and-not-enough-art/
http://therealfrequency.podbus.com/blog/2009/11/24/toronto-the-beautiful/
http://www.toflo.com/category/all/news-all/news-billboard-tax-for-art-going-to-vote-nov-30dec-1/
http://www.urbanebloc.com/beautifulcityca/
http://www.urbnet.com/news.asp
http://thecyberkrib.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/beautiful-city-vs-visual-pollution-toronto/
http://www.cityonmyback.com/2009/11/24/news-make-your-vote-count-to-increase-art-funding-in-the-city/
http://www.officialswarm.com/story.php?title=billboard-torontorsquos-tax-for-art-going-to-vote-nov--30--dec--1st


CALL TO ACTION - ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT TO CALL!
Help Pass Billboard Tax for Art
Going to Vote Nov 30 / Dec 1st
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE ARE TOO MANY BILLBOARDS AND NOT ENOUGH ART IN OUR PUBLIC SPACES? SO DO WE. THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO CHANGE IT. HELP PASS A NEW TAX ON BILLBOARD ADVERTISERS TO FUND ENFORCEMENT AND ARTS INITIATIVES ACROSS THE CITY.
________________________________________
TORONTO! TAKE ACTION TODAY!
1. Call and write your councillor! (Info here: http://tinyurl.com/yj9cn5f )
2. Show your support at City Hall Nov 30/Dec 1! RSVP here: http://tinyurl.com/y9x4xyt )
3. Spread the word!


NOVAE RES URBIS-City of Toronto Edition Toronto - Friday, November 6, 2009

 


Attn: Municipal Issues / Arts Desk
Toronto, November 5, 2009
Download the press release here ( http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bcbf/BC-PR7-v2.pdf   ) 180 KB

CITY COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSES NEW TAX AND LAW FOR BILLBOARDS

 

Toronto's new tax and regulatory regime for billboards overcame a major hurdle last night and will now be voted on by City Council at its next meeting. The unanimous vote at City Council's Planning and Growth Management Committee came more than seven years after the Beautiful City Alliance launched its campaign for a billboard tax for art and greater accountability and oversight of the outdoor advertising industry.

 

Devon Ostrom, a founder of the BeautifulCity.ca Alliance, was pleased with the committee's decision.

 

"The committee made the right decision last night because it embraced the vision of the vast majority of Torontonians who want Toronto to be a beautiful and creative city," said Ostrom. "We hope that City Council will see the wisdom in the committee's decision and give its approval without delay."

 

Rami Tabello, coordinator of IllegalSigns.ca and BeautifulCity.ca Alliance endorser, believes that Planning and Growth Management Committee sent a clear message to billboard companies.

 

"The Billboard Industry in Toronto has a culture of non-compliance with the law; that should come to an end with this by-law." said Tabello, a prominent outdoor advertising industry watchdog. "Between now and the next council meeting, we're going to be meeting with decision-makers to be sure each and every councillor understands the proposed tax is something the billboard industry brought upon themselves with their own outrageous conduct."

 

Toronto City Council will consider the new sign by-law and billboard tax for art at its November 30-December 1 meeting.

 

Free use, print quality images from Nov. 4th PGM: http://tinyurl.com/yz28kob 
Research and Polls: http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=29

 


Inquiries
Devon Ostrom
devon@beautifulcity.ca
647 267 4221

 

Rami Tabello,
rami@illegalsigns.ca
416 822-3696

 

Julia Che
Agents of Change
julia@beautifulcity.ca
416 928 1978

 

BEAUTIFULCITY.CA GOING TO PGM - NOV. 4th - 1:30PM
Download the press release here ( http://www.beautifulcity.ca/BC-PR5-draft.pdf  ) 180 KB Download
Check out what Illegalsigns.ca is saying about the billboard industry trying to delay further here ( http://illegalsigns.ca )
Download the brief, polls and other resources here: (http://www.beautifulcity.ca/bcbf.asp?id=29 )

The Globe and Mail

 

National Post

 

Spacing Magazine

 

Voice of Toronto

 

Globe Investor (CNW)

 

CNW Release

 

The Star

 


TOWN HALL VIDEO - FIRST CUT

 

Beautifulcity.ca Town Hall - 1st Cut from BeautifulCity.ca on Vimeo.

 


DELAY - JUNE 2nd CANCELED

 

Hello Beautifulcity:

 

Weird and alarming but not necessarily bad news. We recently received a call that the billboard tax for art was yanked from the June 2 Executive Committee Meeting due to a problem in the City Solicitor's Office (the City's lawyers). The tax was good to go but there were problems with the by-law.

 

In light of this, please stop all calling and letter writing and save it for later. Please don't stop signing up to volunteer to work on swing wards/helping organize or writing articles about this.

 

Some detail about why this might have happened and how I see this impacting the campaign are below. But if you want to have a chance to ask questions, strategize for how to use the next three months or just vent about the delay, we'll be meeting on Saturday, May 30 at 4pm (#109, 358 Dufferin, RSVP letsstilldothis@beautifulcity.ca .) If that date looks familiar to you, it's because that was supposed to be a workshop for volunteers but that meeting has changed into the Bitching & Planning Meeting due to the circumstances. (The volunteer training session on Thursday, May 28th is postponed.)

 

With the housekeeping stuff done, there are a few trains of thought for why this happened. One is that there was a legal letter from the industry that caused an already conservative (not ideologically i.e. timid) solicitor to stop the process and ensure that the by-law was extremely strong and would survive a legal challenge. [Didn't we/they not know this all along though?] Still another belief is that City staff, despite doing their best, dropped the ball due to one of their managers being extremely sick. Despite a delay being exactly what the industry wants and needs right now, one should be wary of believing that their influence is responsible. In all likelihood, the reason for the delay is probably a combination of some or all of the theories outlined above.

 

Regardless, this is bad because:
1. This will give the industry a chance to regain its composure and wage an even larger battle against the tax/by-law.
2. We were really, really well organized and had a lineup of speakers for June 2nd that was going to knock the socks off of Executive Committee (damn).
3. The billboard industry wants this time to slow things down and try and put through variances on signs that don't comply with existing by-laws. A moratorium on all new sign permits and variances will be necessary to respond to this so some of our attention will go toward working on that solution.
4. Significant resources and time has been spent working things up to June 2nd, but not necessarily lost. This will largely depend on your willingness and enthusiasm to continue.
5. There has been no significant assurance from the city staff, Mayor or Solicitor that they will not be subject to this kind of error or pressure again.

 

This is good because:
1. Due to the huge amount of public support and some amazing staff we had the majority of Executive Committee locked down as in our favour for the vote. By more than a few insider estimations we were already doing victory laps. We can do this again but better now that we have a whole team of councillors and their offices onside.
2. We will have a lot more time to build the alliance – at the rate and type of endorsements we are receiving, there will be no problem reformulating our strategy and gearing up again. (However we will have to stop using 8.5x11 stock and switch to legal as we have run out of space for members -- for example the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, representing 11000 teachers in over 450 schools, voted yesterday to join the Alliance.)
3. Beautifulcity.ca campaigners will have time to start doing dishes again and maybe spend some time in the sun.
4. We have enough time to come back three times as strong and a lot more organized in hitting our targets for Council.
5. The next time this comes to committee/council will be September/October, just in time for Manifesto 2009 – not to mention Nuit Blanche, so we'll have the chance to get thousands more people engaged in this BeautifulCity.ca!

 

We will be applying all the pressure we can to ensure that there are no further delays and that the issue is back on City Hall's agenda as soon as is possible. It looks like, in the worst case scenario September for Executive and October for Council. Please don't lose sight of the goal, stay in touch and keep on volunteering. See you at the meeting.

 

Cheers,
Devon Beautifulcity.ca

 

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." Carrie Fisher

 

 

Beautifulcity.ca from BeautifulCity.ca on Vimeo.


RECENT PRESS:
http://www.publicadcampaign.com/2009/05/toronto-making-huge-strides.html
http://www.rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/redeye/2009/04/billboard-fee-fund-public-art
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090508.R30SECOND08ART1904/TPStory/Business
http://torontoist.com/2009/05/everything_you_ever_wanted_to_know.php
http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/story.cfm?content=169332
http://ideaschangeeverything.wordpress.com/index.php?s=beautifulcity.ca
http://boywithnoname.com/2009/05/02/beautiful-city-vs-billboard-industry/
http://thecyberkrib.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/beautifulcityca-billboard-fees-to-fund-local-artist-programs/
http://www.4real.com/default.asp?tab=news
http://www.1loveto.com/2009/05/05/beautiful-citytonight-at-city-hall/
http://www.canadanewswire.com/en/releases/archive/April2009/22/c4195.html
http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/33068
http://newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2009/04/c8172.html
http://www.formatmag.com/news/beautifulcityca-town-hall-may-5th-630-pm-at-toronto-city-hall/
http://michelle.kasprzak.ca/blog/archives/438
http://torontoist.com/2009/05/urban_planner_may_5_2009.php
http://www.vimeo.com/4493190
http://spacing.ca/wire/2009/05/01/event-town-hall-on-reining-in-the-billboard-industry-may-5/
http://www.1loveto.com/2009/04/21/beautiful-city/
http://www.blogto.com/arts/2009/04/ads_for_arts_sake/index.php
http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=169221 (scroll down to the poll)
http://www.marketingmag.ca/english/news/media/article.jsp?content=20090423_143923_7528
http://www.examiner.com/x-6833-Omaha-Art-Community-Examiner~y2009m4d23-Arts-in-trouble-Try-billboard-tax-or-art-loans
http://rabble.ca/whatsup/town-hall-get-city-council-increase-arts-funding
http://www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/story/CNW.20090422.C4195/GIStory
http://illegalsigns.ca/topics/city-hall-death-and-taxes/
http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/cnw/article.jsp?content=20090504_150502_2_cnw_cnw


BEAUTIFULCITY.CA TOWN HALL – CITY HALL MAY 5TH 6:30 PM
Try reloading - too much traffic maybe?
No image? Too Small? Want something bigger or to print a poster: ( http://www.beautifulcity.ca/poster.pdf) 4M download

 


Would you support?

 

- A historic 53% increase to the annual municipal funding available to all artists, festivals and arts institutions?
- And, close to $100 000.00 dollars for public realm improvement for each Toronto ward including projects such as greening every year?
- As well, as over $300 000.00 annually for each of the 13 priority neighbourhoods to fund accessible youth arts programming?
- Topped by hiring 17 dedicated officers to enforce the new billboard bylaws and collect fines?

 

Sound like a dream? It is…but Toronto City Council is voting on it anyway on June 2nd and early July.  These numbers proposing potential usage are taken from a mid-range estimate of revenues from the billboard charge, currently being worked on by city staff. The Beautifulcity.ca / BCBF proposal would see revenues from this tax or fee on billboards dedicated to art in the public sphere.

 

You can make this future possible! Please attend the Town Hall to ask questions, find out more and show City Councillors and the media that there is serious weight behind this proposal.
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen St. West
Tuesday May 5th
Committee Room 2 (Second floor)
6:30-9 PM

 

Presented by Manifesto Community Projects, the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Youth Action Network, CYAN and the BCBF (Beautiful City Billboard Fee) Alliance as part of International Youth Week.
Suggest possible agenda items regarding youth, art and public space for consideration at:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=70651528738
 
Need this to Happen?
Seven Easy Steps…

 

1. Find out more, circulate / sign the petition and volunteer:
(
http://www.beautifulcity.ca)

2. Send examples, favourites or images of what 'art in the public sphere' / 'public art' means to you to:
(
townhall@beautifulcity.ca) Send jpgs at 800w x 600h pixels max please. Images will be projected during the town hall.

3. Send City Staff a quick message saying that you 'support the idea of a dedicated tax on billboards for art'
(
signbylawproject@toronto.ca) Personalize it with a message of what art can do for Toronto!

4. Call and invite your local Councillor, find out who at:
(
http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp) Tell them you think 'a dedicated tax on billboards for art and enforcement is a [insert superlative!] idea'

5. Join the Alliance facebook group and invite your friends:
(
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4798915838&ref=ts)

6. Write a piece or send the press release to your favourite journalist:
(
http://www.beautifulcity.ca/PressRelease_Beautifulcity_Town_Hall_May5.pdf)

7. Attend the Town Hall on May 5th and please, please (please) forward this message to at least 7 people.



ATTN Municipal Affairs / Arts Desk
April 22nd 2009 – Toronto, ON


'Tax billboards for Art,' Say Hundreds of Artists and Activists Set to Rally at Toronto City Hall on May 5

 

On May 5th as part of International Youth Week, hundreds of young artists and organizers will rally at City Hall and discuss the BeautifulCity.ca campaign. Going to Executive Committee on June 2nd and City Council for decision in early July, this city building initiative would see the proceeds from the currently proposed billboard charge dedicated to art in the public sphere and enforcement of the City of Toronto's signage laws.

 

Once implemented, it would mean a historic increase to Toronto's arts budget: enough to more than double the numbers of artists receiving individual grants or, to fund hundreds of new arts projects across the city -- effectively turning every day into a vibrant arts festival!

 

The BeautifulCity.ca proposal will also help spur the economy. A Council for Business and the Arts study in 2006 stated that "for every 1 dollar of public arts funding in a regional economy, 8 are generated." However, in 2008, the Martin Prosperity Institute found that "the fact that average cities around the country have expanded their cultural expenditures by more than 4 times as much as the City of Toronto has put Toronto on the low end of competitive growth."

 

The proposal also emphasizes funding the work of talented young artists who live in Toronto's most impoverished communities. This will not only make Toronto a more fair and reflective city -- but also healthier. According to a report from the University of Pennsylvania "Low income neighbourhoods with higher cultural participation are four times more likely than average to have low delinquency rates. Neighbourhoods with an active arts scene are nearly three times more likely to see their poverty rates decline and their population increase."

 

BeautifulCity.ca is endorsed by 40 organizations, 1400 signatories and backed by multiple Councillors. Environics found that 7/10 Toronto voters support "a tax on billboards with the funds going to public art," making the proposal the most popular tax measure a government could implement.

 

Presented by Manifesto, Youth Action Network, Toronto Youth Cabinet, Canadian Youth Arts Network and the BeautifulCity.ca Alliance, a video of the last Town Hall can be viewed via the following link: http://www.themanifesto.ca/townhall2008/ManifestoCyanMeeting.mov

 

Please see the invite below.

 

Event details
Toronto City Hall
Committee Room 2 (second floor)
May 5, 2009
6:30-9:30PM

 

Register with
Julia Che
Agents of Change 
julia@beautifulcity.ca
416 928 1978


April 16
Web Update

 

SAVE THE DATE - BEAUTIFULCITY.CA TOWN HALL
Tuesday May 5th Committee Room 2 from 6:30-9 PM

 

http://www.them.ca/Town_Hall_May5-sm.jpg

Presented by Manifesto Community Projects, the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Youth Action Network, CYAN and the BCBF (Beautiful City Billboard Fee) Alliance.

 

Come find out how you can be a part of historical change in the city. Discussion will focus on how to implement a charge on billboards to fund art in the public sphere with a priority on marginalized communities and youth art. Topics also include policy recommendations for the city defining enforcement of graffiti art

 

Suggest possible agenda items regarding youth, art and public space for consideration at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=70651528738

 

Sign the petition and learn more at http://www.beautifulcity.ca


March, 15 2009
Web Update


BCBF PETITION - GOING TO EXEC. COMMITTEE JUNE 2nd & COUNCIL IN JULY
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The dedicated tax on billboards for public art is finally going to council. Please sign and circulate the petition here
http://www.them.ca/bcbfpetition.asp(if you have not done so already.)

 

Signatures have been instrumental in getting city councilors on board with the initiative, bringing about a new billboard bylaw and are critical to it passing.  The BCBF has the potential to dramatically increase arts funding in Toronto while greatly diversifying and democratizing access to public space. Once implemented, it would mean a historic increase to the annual Toronto Arts Council budget: enough to more than double the numbers of artists receiving individual grants or, to fund hundreds of new arts projects across the city -- effectively turning every day into a vibrant arts festival!

 

Towards the aim of diversifying access to public space, the BCBF entails a funding priority on marginalized communities and youth art. This will not only make Toronto a more fair and reflective city -- but also healthier. According to a report from the University of Pennsylvania "Low income neighbourhoods with higher cultural participation are four times more likely than average to have low delinquency rates. Neighbourhoods with an active arts scene are nearly three times more likely to see their poverty rates decline and their population increase."

 

The BCBF is endorsed by 36 organizations and 1200 individual signatories. A Council for Business and the Arts study in 2006 stated that for every one dollar of public arts funding in a regional economy, eight are generated and, according to Environics, 7/10 Toronto Voters support "a tax on billboards with the funds going to public art through the Toronto Arts Council." However for some city Councillor this is not enough, please add your support and circulate this message. 

 

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Join the Facebook Group:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4798915838&ref=share
More info: http://bcbf.them.ca

 

August 20, 2008
Web Update

The public consultations for the new billboard bylaw have been initiated by the city. There will be four sessions across Toronto (Sept 10, Etobicoke Civic Centre, Sept 18th North York Civic Centre, Sept 24th Scarborough Civic Centre and Sept 25th Toronto City Hall -- all are at 7pm.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Etobicoke Civic Centre
2 Civic Centre Court, 2nd floor
Council Chambers

Thursday, September 18, 2008
7:00 p.m.
North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge St, 1st Floor
Council Chambers

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Scarborough Civic Centre
150 Borough Drive
Council Chambers

Thursday, September 25, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, 2nd Floor
Committee Room #2


Nov 22, 2007
Web Update

 

In the good news / slow-but-measured-progress department, the Environics stats backed by 32 organizations, related positive press, the hard work of our allies and a handful of Councillors has been paying dividends towards better enforcement of billboards. A number of measures have now been passed or are in progress such as dedicated personnel, wide reaching reviews and revoking of bad permits. Additionally, the signs harmonization has been accelerated. The background report also says the tax is likely to be rolled out in 2009 -- if it goes to public art or not is up to us (and you!)

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Nov 1st, 2007
Attn: Municipal Desk
Toronto, ON

 

 

 

oooh too much traffic ... grunt grunt 

 

// Environics Poll Indicates 8/10 Voters Want Illegal Billboards Removed & Increased Fines, 7/10 Want a Reduction in General //

 

    In the run-up to the new billboard bylaw, an Environics survey commissioned by the BCBF Alliance indicates that a strong majority of Torontonians support enhanced protections for pubic space.

 

78% of the general population and 8/10 of municipal voters support "the city removing billboards that violate city bylaws and implementing fines to a level that discourages future violations." (For more information on illegal billboards please visit http://www.illegalsigns.ca)

 

68% of the general population and 7/10 of municipal voters are in support of "the city working to reduce billboards and corporate posters in general." This result clearly positions civic space advocates as a public interest group -- rather than treatment or portrayal as a fringe, or special interest.

 

The survey was limited to people living in the City of Toronto and has an actionable margin of error at +/- 6.7% (19/20) To download the summary, please see: http://www.them.ca/bcbf/Summary_EnvironicsPoll_A-B.pdf

 

For more information:

 

(647) 267 4221
http://bcbf.them.ca
info@them.ca

 

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Please note:  tomorrow there is a MLS motion regarding illegal signs!
http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2007/ls/agendas/2007-11-02-ls08-ar.pdf

 


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August 23, 2007
Web Update

MUNICIPAL UPDATE

After drawing wide support from the community during the somewhat harrowing public consultations concerning new revenue tools -- the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer recommend that:

 

 

 

"In conjunction with the development of a new City sign by-law, DCM Richard Butts be directed to consider and report back to the Executive Committee on the potential application of a billboard or public signage tax, specifically for the purposes of raising revenue to administer the by-law and raise revenues for City beautification, arts or cultural initiatives;" (Staff Report, June 11th)

This action was later passed by the Executive Committee (Executive Committee Item 10.1, June 25th)

 

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ATTN: Arts & Municipal Issues Desk
May 12, 2007

 

MAJORITY SUPPORT BILLBOARD TAX FOR PUBLIC ART

 

Enacting the Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF) through the new revenue tools (currently under public review)would see six million dollars would go to public art in Toronto.

 

Funds would be gathered from an annual license fee, paid by billboard advertisers and be directed though the Toronto Arts Council into public art -- with a priority put on marginalized communities and youth art. According to a Pollara poll, only 15% of Torontonians are against such a fee.

 

Objectives of the BCBF include:
- Urban beautification & employment for artists
- More funding for tracking & policing billboard advertisers
- Helping move Toronto towards a pedestrian focused aesthetic
- Promoting community ownership of public spaces
- Diversifying access to public communication

 

Supported by: 411 Initiative for Change; Arts & Contemporary Studies Student Union; Artsvote; Centre for Integral Economics; Digital Propaganda; Earwaks.com; Grassroots Youth Collaborative; Illegalsigns.ca; Kate Henderson Intellectual Property & Trademark; Lotus Leaf Communications; Manifesto; Mural Routes; nataliagrosner.com; PressPause; Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre; Rhythmicru; Spacing Magazine; Style in Progress; The Remix Project; The Gladstone Hotel, The Faculty Of, them.ca, Toronto Arts Council Foundation, Toronto Youth Cabinet, UrbanArts & Youth Action Network

 

More info: http://bcbf.them.ca

 

Media Inquiries:
Julia Che
Lotus Leaf Communications
Julia@lotusleaf.ca
416.702.5414

 

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For Immediate Release:

September 26, 2005

 

UN8 LIVE PAINTING AT HARBOURFRONT: BCBF PHOTO OP + AFTERPARTY

 

TorontoON.  -- On Saturday Oct. 1 and Sunday Oct 2. 2005 join Them.ca at Harbourfront Centre for the Culture Shock – Voices of an Emerging Generation festival with live painting by some ofCanada's top street artists: Other (http://other.them.ca) Dstrbo (http://www.hvw8.com), Case ( http://case.them.ca), thesis (http://thesis.them.ca) and Elicser ( http://www.presspause.ca)  will paint in dedication to the United Nations 8 millennium goals. Culture Shock is a festival which celebrates arts, culture and politics.

 

The live painting piece will also illustrate the possibilities of public art -- providing a vibrant backdrop for the public launch of the Beautiful City Billboard Fee (http://bcbf.them.ca). This proposal (under review by the Mayor's office) would establish a fee put on billboards around Toronto with the funds going towards art commissioned at the community centre level. The project will not only beautifyToronto and create jobs for Canadian artists, but will also serve to promote community ownership of and diversify communication in public spaces. Over 15 organizations support the BCBF and only 11% of Canadians are against such a fee (+/-2.4% 19/20 Pollara). BCBF campaign postcards will be on-hand to fill out and mail to the Mayor and Julia Che will be available for interviews.

 

On Sunday, take your completed and stamped BCBF postcard and receive $1 off at the Culture Shock After Party. The After Party will take place at the Supermarket, in the heart of Kensington Market. It will feature a live painting battle between Them.ca and Presspause.ca (two of Canada's top street art groups). Rhythmic Crew's Owl will act as referee. The finished pieces will be auctioned to fund the BCBF project. L'Oqenz, Mensa, Phat Conductor, Farbsi and Evstarr will also spin tunes throughout the evening with throwdowns by breakdance crew The Drunken Monkz. The event is sponsored by Solo Mobile, Moosehead (1$ beers!), Lotus Leaf, them.ca, Hip-Hop Canada, District Six and Thecybercrib.com.

 

The event will begin at 9pm. This is a 19+ event with a cover of $5 ($4 with the completed BCBF postcard)

 

 

The Culture Shock Festival takes place from September 30 – October 2, 2005.

235 Queens Quay West

Visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com/shock for more information.

The Culture Shock After Party takes place on October 2nd, 2005

The Supermarket: 268 Augusta

 

 

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For information on Culture Shock contact:

 

Julia Che

Media Relations Coordinator

Event Co-Presenter

647.295.8086

julia@lotusleaf.ca 

 

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September 12, 2005  – MEDIA ADVISORY

 

The Mayor's office has accepted the BCBF for review!

 

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CNW - AUGUST 9TH http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/August2005/09/c8636.html

Attention News Editors:

 

Majority of Canadians Support Fee on Billboards to Fund Public Art

   

TORONTO, Aug. 9 /CNW/ - The Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF) proposes

that billboard companies pay an annual fee with the proceeds used to

commission public art.

   

According to Pollara, 66% Canadians support the proposal and only 11% are opposed. In Toronto, 66% of participants support the proposal and 15% are opposed.

   

The objectives of the BCBF are: 1) urban beautification 2) employment for artists; 3) diversifying access to visual communication in, and thus promoting community ownership of, public spaces.

   

Information, images, quotes and resources can be found at:

http://bcbf.them.ca

 

For further information: Julia Che, Lotus Leaf Communications,

(647) 295-8086, julia@lotusleaf.ca; Devon Ostrom, Project Administration,

(416) 604-7804, devon@them.ca

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English Version: 

ATTN: ARTS / COMMUNITY DESK For Immediate Release:  July 15, 2005

Majority of Canadians Support Fee on

Billboards to Fund Public Art

 

Street Art Organization, Them.ca introduces The Beautiful City Billboard Fee "BCBF"

 

 TorontoON – Them.ca announced today the launch of a new project called The Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF). The BCBF proposes that billboard companies pay an annual fee with the proceeds used to commission public art. If initiated, the BCBF will add a grassroots touch to the "Year of Creativity 2006" and provide further support for the Mayor's "Clean & Beautiful City" initiative. The BCBF could fund the renewal and celebration of local communities through creative expression.

 

"Typically, we accept advertising in other forums such as magazines, as it is seen to subsidize useful or enjoyable content for the consumer of the message. This fee will help billboard advertising to assume a more legitimate place in the public's perception. Spin-off effects could include a reduction in vandalism (on advertising) and people paying more conscious attention to billboard advertisements," says Them.ca curator, Devon Ostrom.

 

According to a Pollara (www.pollara.ca) public opinion poll, a majority of Canadians support the institution of a fee on billboard advertising that would be redirected into public art. A total of 2006 Canadian adults participated in the survey, 66% of which supported the fee and 11% were opposed. (±2.2%, 19/20) This result was closely mirrored in Toronto, with 66% of participants supporting the proposal and only 15% opposed (±8.3%, 19/20).

 

The primary objectives of the BCBF are: 1) beautification of the city; 2) creation of employment for artists and 3) diversifying access to visual communication in public spaces to reflect the creativity and multiplicity that exists in Canada's urban centres.

 

Them.ca proposes a charge of $6.00 per sq. foot of billboard space per year. Those funds will then be redirected towards public art. Thus, five 15'x25' billboards could subsidize one small art piece for the cost of $10 000.00 (allowing $1250.00 for administrative and maintenance expenses incurred by city and granting bodies). On a larger scale, the estimated 5000 billboards in Toronto could generate six million dollars for public art per year.

 

"…To me, there's room for advertising in the world in moderation and in balance with other kinds of messages. We don't have that; our 'pure' artists are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to resources.  A reasonable balance between conflicting agendas is what we always hope for.  Seeing more of the best work of our best artists in public places would contribute to that.  That would also make this city and the world better places to live in," says Jim Garrard, Past Executive Director, Toronto Arts Council.

 

The Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF) will not only beautify Toronto and create jobs for Canadian artists, but will also serve to promote community ownership and diversify communication in public spaces. Them.ca looks forward to working with the Beautiful City Roundtable and the Mayor's Office to further refine this concept by providing a venue where all stakeholders can maintain involvement.

 

The Organization: Them.ca

 

Them.ca is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to: 1) providing a community of practice, promotion and platform for its artists; 2) mentoring, supporting and developing young urban artists; 3) researching and conducting urban renewal using art, and 4) promoting and producing art exhibits, events and festivals. Them.ca encourages arts organizations in other municipalities to use the BCBF polling results for additional local initiatives.

 

For more information including: quotes, sources, FAQ, a copy of the full proposal, resources, images and the findings from poll, please visit:  http://bcbf.them.ca

 

 

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For further information contact:

Julia Che

Media Relations Coordinator

647.295.8086

julia@lotusleaf.ca          

Lotus Leaf Communications

 

 

Devon Ostrom

Project Administration

416.604.7804

bcbf@them.ca

Them.ca  

 

 

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Attn: SALLE DE RÉDACTION / ARTS - COMMUNAUTÉ

 

Source:them.ca

Communiqué - pour diffusion immédiate

 

La majorité des Canadiens sont favorables à l'idée d'une redevance d'utilisation des panneaux publicitaires pour subventionner l'art public

Them.ca lance le projet «RAVIR» («Redevance d'affichage pour des villes qui inspirent et respirent»)

 

Toronto, le 14 juillet 2005 - Them.ca a dévoilé aujourd'hui son nouveau projet de «Redevance d'affichage pour des villes qui inspirent et respirent» (RAVIR). Ce projet propose que les compagnies qui utilisent les panneaux publicitaires paient une redevance annuelle dont les recettes serviraient à commander des oeuvres d'art publiques au profit des communautés locales. Si elle est instituée, la RAVIR apporterait une contribution populaire à «l'Année de la créativité 2006» et un soutien à l'initiative «Ville belle, ville propre» ("Clean and Beautiful City") du maire de Toronto David Miller. La RAVIR mettrait à profit l'expression créatrice pour soutenir la rénovation et la célébration des communautés urbaines.

 

«Cette redevance pourrait non seulement aider à embellir notre ville, favoriser le multiculturalisme et donner du travail à nos artistes systématiquement sous-employés, dit Devon Ostrom, conservateur de Them.ca., mais elle pourrait aussi rehausser l'image de la publicité extérieure aux yeux du public. On peut très bien imaginer qu'elle pourrait entraîner également une diminution des actes de vandalisme contre les annonces et qu'elle inciterait le public à porter plus d'attention aux panneaux publicitaires.»

 

D'après un sondage réalisé par Pollara (www.pollara.ca), la majorité des Canadiens sont favorables à l'idée d'une redevance sur les panneaux d'affichage qui seraient réinvestie dans l'art public. Sur les 2 006 Canadiens ont participé au sondage, 66 % étaient d'accord avec la redevance et 11 % y étaient opposés (± 2,2 %, 19/20).  Ces résultats nationaux était presque identiques aux résultats obtenus à Toronto, où 66 % des répondants se sont dits d'accord et seulement 15 % en désaccord (± 8,3 %, 19/20).

 

Le projet RAVIR a trois grands objectifs: (1) embellir nos villes, (2) créer des emplois pour nos artistes et (3) diversifier l'accès à la communication visuelle dans les espaces publics de manière à refléter la créativité et la diversité qui existent dans les centres urbains à travers le Canada.

 

Them.ca propose une redevance annuelle de 6,00 $ au pied carré d'espace d'affichage publicitaire qui serait destinées à des projets d'art public. Par exemple, cinq panneaux publicitaires de 15 pi par 25 pi suffiraient pour subventionner une œuvre modeste coûtant 10 000 $ (dont 1 250,00 $ serviraient à payer les frais d'administration et à assurer l'entretien de l'oeuvre). À plus grande échelle, les quelque 5 000 panneaux publicitaires à Toronto pourraient générer six millions de dollars pour l'art public chaque année.

 

Pour Jim Garrard, ancien directeur général du Conseil des arts de Toronto, «il y a de la place pour la publicité dans le monde, dans la mesure où sa présence est modérée et équilibrée par rapport aux autres types de messages. Ce n'est pas le cas à l'heure actuelle; nos artistes «purs» sont définitivement désavantagés sur le plan des ressources. Ce qu'on souhaite surtout, c'est un équilibre raisonnable entre des intérêts qui ne sont pas toujours concordants. Le fait de pouvoir voir un plus grand nombre des meilleures œuvres de nos meilleurs artistes dans les espaces publics serait un grand pas dans la bonne direction, tout en rendant notre ville et notre monde plus agréables à habiter.»

 

La RAVIR embellira la ville de Toronto et créera des emplois pour les artistes canadiens. Elle stimulera la prise en charge des espaces publics par la communauté et y diversifiera la communication. Them.ca souhaite travailler avec le «Beautiful City Roundtable» et le bureau du maire Miller pour mieux définir les paramètres du projet et créer un lieu où tous les parties intéressées pourront continuer à oeuvrer ensemble à sa réalisation.

 

Them.ca est un organisme sans but lucratif qui a pour mandat de (1) constituer une communauté de pratique, de promotion et d'expression de ses artistes, (2) d'offrir un mentorat, un soutien et des moyens de développement aux jeunes artistes urbains, (3) de travailler conceptuellement et concrètement à la rénovation urbaine au moyen des arts et (4) de monter et de promouvoir des expositions, événements et festivals artistiques. Them.ca invite les organismes à vocation artistique des autres municipalités à se servir du sondage sur la RAVIR et à mettre sur pied des projets semblables dans leurs communautés respectives.

 

Pour tout complément d'information, y compris les citations, sources, documents sur le déploiement de la fonction qualité, ressources, images et résultats du sondage, suivez ce lien: http://bcbf.them.ca.

 

 

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Julia Che – Coordinatrice des relations avec les médias - 647.295.8086 - julia@lotusleaf.ca - Lotus Leaf Communications

 


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DEDICATED ARTICLES

- Here & Now, Interview, CBC Radio, November 16th, 2007

- Laura Mendes, "New Proposed Tax Could Turn Billboards Into Art," blogTO, November 13th, 2007

- "A Sign of the Times," Dale Duncan, Eye Weekly, November 8, 2007

- Jesse Kohl, "The lowdown on the billboard tax," Media in Canada, May 22, 2007

- Take 5FM, 8:30 CIUT 89.5FM June 4th, 2007

- Bill Carroll Morning Show 8:40 1010 CFRB, May 15th, 2007

 

- David Meslin, "Not So Fast on Billboard Tax," Now Magazine, May 10th 2007

- "International Youth Week + BCBF" Catch da Flava Radio & Audio Arts Program / CKLN88.1FM, May 1st  2007

- Staff Writer, "BCBF" Public Art Review, Vol. 17 No.1 Fall-Winter 2005

- Anne Marie Aikins, "Beautiful city billboard campaign looks for municipal support" Novae Res Urbis, Aug.12 2005 (PDF Dowload - 385kb)

- Wire Release, "Majority of Canadians Support Fee on Billboards to Fund Public Art," CNW Group, Aug 9th, 2005 

- NA, "Solutions: Devon Ostrom on the BCBF." Toronto Arts Coalition News, August 2nd, 2005

- Devon Ostrom, "Taxing Billboards for a better city", Mural Routes News, August, 2005 (PDF)

- Jamais Cascio, "Beautiful City Billboard Fee," World Changing, July 21, 2005

- NA, "Beautiful City Billboard Fee." Spacing Wire, July 18th, 2005

- Devon Ostrom, "A Beautiful Billboard Fee." them.ca, June 2005

- Devon Ostrom, "A Beautiful Billboard Fee." UrbanArts, June 2005 (PDF)

- Liam Thurston & D.Thomas, "Art vs. Ads," Fuse Magazine, May 2002

- Carly Zwarenstein,"Let the Big Guys Pay," Eye, April 2002

- Liam Thurston & Devon Ostrom "Art Vs Ads" Youth Action Forum, August, 2002