Copy and paste the text below in an email to your city councillor! Advocate for arts funding in the former City of York at the Toronto City Council before Feb 14th, 2024.

To find your ward click here.

Dear Councillor, 

Thank you for your support of UrbanArts as they strive to maintain services in your ward, particularly for seniors, youth and artists.  In advance of the February 14th council meeting and in light of the $8 million funds still being allocated, I write to you with a request to support the Local Arts Service Organizations located across Toronto and serving 21 wards.   

As you are aware, the LASO funding has been flatlined by the City since 2019 – half a decade.  Specifically, just 1.8M has been distributed annually across 6 organisations with collective catchment areas that cover 84.2% of the population of Toronto, a total of 2.73M people.

Mayor Oliva Chow recognized the importance of the LASOs contributions and the challenge faced by their limited resources when she included a promise to double the LASO funding envelope in her election platform. 

By increasing the LASO funding by just $900,000 this year, to be dispersed over the six organizations, this funding could:

•Combat social isolation, build social cohesion, create third spaces for all age groups within their communities, bring economic opportunities to outside downtown neighbourhoods, beautify spaces and build pride among residents. 

•Provide more jobs, entrepreneurship, and learning opportunities for artists living in the community   

•Have more capacity to support grassroots arts collectives, organizations and ad hoc initiatives to flourish in their communities.  

•Catch up to the past years where there has been no funding increase, despite record high inflation rates for goods and services.

The arts are a cornerstone in building a healthy, connected and inspired city. This is particularly important in light of the Toronto Foundation’s Vital Signs report which highlights Toronto’s increasing lack of connectedness among its residents. The arts bring people together through shared opportunities like celebrations, events, and learning opportunities.

Thank you, as always, for your consideration and commitment to community arts in your ward.