Arts Sounding 2024

Arts Sounding 2024 is a new initiative to engage practitioners in the Ontario nonprofit arts sector.

What is Arts Sounding 2024? 

Incubated by ONN, Arts Sounding 2024 is a new initiative to engage practitioners in Ontario’s nonprofit arts sector in examining immediate and longer-term ideas, and opportunities to address their unique challenges. Examining the nonprofit arts sector at this inflection point is timely as new opportunities and challenges arise in post-pandemic Ontario.

This project will explore:

  • The current state of the professional arts sector. 
  • What best practices should be replicated and what elements have become redundant?
  • Ideas/new ways of working that support the arts sector, and help organizations and artists thrive.
  • Key areas/priorities that arts councils and other funding agencies may consider focusing on.
  • How changing direction towards these areas benefits the wider arts sector and enhances its impact.

Sector engagement details 

  1. Town Halls: 20-25 events (in-person and online) will be organized in collaboration with a local host(s). A variety of regions across the province will be included to ensure access for a range of arts professionals. Indigenous-specific town halls are being organized, and First Nation localities are being considered in the selection of town hall sites. Three town halls will be offered in French. Seven province-wide virtual (online) town halls will be scheduled after the in-person meetings have been completed to ensure culturally specific groups are equitably engaged, and to ensure anyone unable to attend the in-person sessions has a chance to participate. 
  1. Interviews: Approximately 150 individual interviews will be conducted. Arts service organizations, artist associations, community arts councils, arts networks, and hubs will be asked to put forward suggestions for interviewees. This list will be triaged with a lens of regional and cultural equity and inclusion to ensure the sample is as representative as possible. The list of interviewees will be reviewed by project partners. Interviews will be conducted by telephone or video conference in either English or French. 
  1. Report: A publicly accessible final report will be published. The report will be edited by a panel of community-based advisors. Presentations will follow, providing an opportunity for feedback and further conversations with all partners. The report will then be finalized incorporating the remaining input from all partners, translated, and distributed. 

How will Arts Sounding 2024 benefit the arts sector?

Arts Sounding 2024 will help the Ontario arts sector enhance agency through community-led dialogue that efficiently and effectively benefits a range of stakeholders, at a minimal cost shared by arts funders and industry partners. By determining current opportunities and challenges, and taking a strengths-based approach to current environmental and market factors, new ways of working will emerge that can be implemented and benefitted from. 

Arts Sounding will bring numerous players together, leveraging and strengthening a network of networks through work that benefits Ontario’s arts sector broadly. It will strengthen the distinctive voice of the nonprofit arts sector in the province, and advance artistic, cultural, social, and economic development in Ontario.

Roles supporting the project

Two critical advisory teams are helping to guide this work:

  • The Investigative Team (AKA Research Advisory) is focused on developing and setting the research parameters for the listening tour while helping to guide and govern the project. Partners are represented on the Investigative Team. 
  • The Community-based Advisory Working Group (CBAWG) will help ensure the final report includes diverse viewpoints and perspectives consistent with the findings from Arts Sounding 2024. Advisors will participate in town halls as observers and contribute to the final report in an editorial role. 

JP Longboat (Artistic Director, Circadia Indigena) is an Advisor on the Investigative Team. Lynda Trudeau (General Manager, Debajehmujig Storytellers) sits on both Advisories. 

Project oversight and governance are being provided by ONN.

Hamal Docter guides overall project management while keeping arts funders, project partners, and a wide array of stakeholders engaged and involved. They will facilitate consultations, record findings, draft/finalize public reports with the input of community-based advisors and all partners, and present findings in discussion forums with partners and stakeholders. Hamal is an independent consultant with experience working for various arts funders and multiple arts industry associations.

If you have any questions about this project, please email ArtsSounding@theONN.ca.

Arts Sounding 2024 partners

Arts Sounding 2024 is a sector-wide partnership involving arts funders, and industry associations. Each has a part in supporting and representing the thousands of arts organizations and over 66,000 individual artists who exist in Ontario.

Partner arts funders

  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Metcalf Foundation
  • Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
  • Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF)
  • Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF)

Partner arts coalitions, alliances and networks*

Partners are engaged in the development, design, and execution of Arts Sounding 2024. Several arts funders are providing financial support, while all partners offer expertise and insight at regular intervals. Outputs from Arts Sounding (key findings, report, etc.) may feed into arts policy and financing priorities, support measures underpinning the creative value chain, and strengthen collaboration within the sector.

*These groups collectively represent over 80 arts service organizations, artist associations, community arts councils, and networks.

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