One-stop-shop government resources in response to COVID-19, and where and how to access them
We are in extraordinary times with a sector (and society) faced with unprecedented obstacles and changes. AND YET we are an extraordinary sector, filled with extraordinary people, and we need to all work together to weather this storm. LEAN was formed as an immediate, ad hoc, pro bono response network to help arts organizations, big and small, deal with what is coming at them.
WHO ARE WE?
We are former arts leaders who care deeply about our sector. We have a network of hundreds of years of experience among a selection of phenomenal volunteers who all feel as we do. We believe in service leadership – now more than ever in this extraordinary time. We are offering our services in this crisis environment – the help each other get through it to help make sure we all end up standing at the end of this.
This initiative was pulled together by The Lean Team: Celia Smith, Michele Maheux and Jeanne LeSage.
COVID-19 Flash Survey Findings
Ontario’s nonprofits and charities are facing a triple threat as a result of COVID-19: an abrupt loss of revenue from the cancellation of fundraising events and a steep drop-off in donations; the closure of offices and cancellation of programs and services due to pandemic restrictions; and unprecedented human resource challenges in terms of both paid staff and volunteers. The Ontario Nonprofit Network conducted a flash survey to examine how organizations across Ontario are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonprofit leaders are concerned about the safety of their employees, many of whom are front-line staff with insufficient access to personal protective equipment (community workers, personal support workers, child care workers, and shelter staff). Leaders are also deeply worried about the capacity of their organizations to carry out their missions amid the crisis.
Arts organizations are having to cancel shows, recreation centres have been shut due to the state of emergency, and front-line social services and residential homes are struggling to provide services safely without access to adequate testing and personal protection equipment (PPE). Catering, courier, and retail social enterprises that employ people with disabilities have had to close up shop. Food banks are running low on provisions and volunteers. The situation is dire.
But even in the face of what are challenging times, nonprofits remain resilient, working on the frontlines to support their communities they serve in an unparalleled time of need.
The survey was open to Ontario nonprofits, charities, and nonprofit co-operatives with a mission to serve a public benefit, aimed specifically at executive directors and other senior leaders. It was conducted between March 23 and April 2, 2020 and garnered 483 responses via an online tool.
A letter from grassroots arts initiatives struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic Attention:
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Canadian Heritage
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The Honorable Lisa MacLeod
Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries
438 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We, the undersigned, represent a diverse spectrum of small, grassroots, and community-based arts initiatives, and we are writing to draw your attention to the vital role of our work, especially at this time, as many of us are focused specifically on working with marginalized communities, and with some of our most vulnerable citizens. We are community organizers on the front lines, and often the most accessible point of personal support for artists and communities, and we fill an important gap by engaging groups that have been historically excluded within conventional cultural institutions. For example, research from Canadian Art (2015) found that only 11% of solo exhibitions at major Canadian public art galleries centered on non-white artists. They also found that gallery management in Canada is disproportionately dominated by white arts professionals. Meanwhile, our initiatives are often led-by, and specifically geared to engaging non-white artists, and, in addition, many of us focus on engaging those identifying as LGBTQ, disabled, and those experiencing systemic barriers to participating in the arts.
We fully support all responsive funding programs intended to stabilize the arts and cultural sector, as well as charities and nonprofit organizations, and of course we support all programs providing emergency relief to individuals facing sudden income losses. However, as unincorporated, or smaller arts initiatives often working with small project grants, fuelled by small donations, and volunteer hours, yet playing a vital role in the arts ecosystem often without any sustainable funding, we encourage policy-makers and public funding agencies to ensure that our work is not overlooked in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we come together as a sector to weather the storm, we fear that, without immediate and accessible support during, and after this COVID-19 pandemic, many of our groups will be all but wiped out, which would result in major gaps in the cultural ecosystem, leave many communities in disarray, and ultimately push many vulnerable citizens further into isolation.
We are creative, resilient, and we have proven track records creating big impacts with small investment. So we ask you, at this pivotal time, to acknowledge our work, and–in addition to the support for established arts organizations, cultural institutions, nonprofits and charities, as well as all the help going to businesses–make sure that we, too, are able to access the basic resources to continue operating in our unique and intimate roles in communities, and for the artists who need us now more than ever.
Please sign at the link below
What do you need to create and share art during the COVID-19 pandemic? CARFAC Ontario is collecting information from artists about their most urgent needs, and any identified new resources that will allow them to continue producing and presenting work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be consolidated, and shared with arts councils to advocate for and inform any necessary modifications to their guidelines and granting programs, and to assess the need to create new funding streams.
For example, are you suddenly in need of a new computer, or new software? Do you require specific technology to collaborate with others remotely? How do you imagine publicly presenting your work if physical spaces are closed? Are there new materials or resources you suddenly find yourself needing (i.e. home studio equipment)? And are there any ways that arts councils can alter their funding criteria, guidelines, and programming to better respond to your needs?
Please note, we are looking for information exclusively about creating and sharing art; this is not intended to inform the creation of an emergency relief fund.
We will not share your personal information.
If you have any questions, please email:
Managing Director, CARFAC Ontario
Accepting applications from artists who post a 45 to 60 minute online performance between today and March 31, 2020. Financial grants will be given out from a $100,000 relief fund.
To apply to this short-term relief measure, performing artists or ensemble (less than 10 people) simply need to write to the National Arts Centre at CanadaPerforms@nac-cna.ca, provide their name, a description of their 45-60 minutes performance, when they wish to share and on what platform. The National Arts Centre will select fund recipients in consultation with industry leaders. The NAC will announce online performances, as they apply, are selected and confirmed, via its Facebook page for Canadians to watch and enjoy.
This is a site for celebrating art from all over the world, showcasing amazing talent, and coming together as a community at a time when we need it more than ever.
URGNT LIVE is a Toronto-based online venue. What started as livestream series in empty venues created in response to the COVID-19 outbreak has quickly adapted to promote social distancing and create a curated platform to present and support the best of the city’s musicians. Our goals are:
- to unify the arts industry in Toronto in a safe and creative way;
- to raise money to pay a nominal fee to all involved parties to help with lost gigs and wages as a result of the quarantine;
- to document and catalogue this unique period in history; and
- to make compelling content available to audiences when they need it most.
Urgent times call for urgent creativity. Our artists will lead the way.
The videos are free to watch, but the project is not. To pay your cover charge to support the economy of culture, go to our gofundme page.