Success of our artsVest program in Stratford noted in the Stratford Citizen

Matching grants program tops $110,000 locally

March 3, 2011
By Adam Gardiner

A year ago, Stratford, St. Marys and Perth County became one of five areas throughout Ontario to be granted
participation in the Artsvest program for 2010.

The program’s mission: to get local arts and cultural groups to partner with local businesses for financial
support, with Artsvest to provide matching grants for each successful partnership. After a year of hard work, those efforts have generated over $110,000 in local business investment, program officials announced yesterday at a wrap celebration in the City Hall auditorium.

“To have the success we’ve had during this economic uncertainty – I just think that’s a really, really successful
acheivement,” said Randy Mattice, the Stratford’s economic development officer. He noted the historically “symbiotic” relationship between the city’s arts and industry groups, one strong enough
to define the city’s motto, Industry and Art, and one he said he actively promotes when selling the city to investors.
“I think the success of the Artsvest program really shows that we’re ‘dramatically different,’” he said, quoting
the city’s slogan.

Eight organizations – the North Perth Arts & Culture Council, Savour Stratford Perth County, the Stratford
Media Arts Alliance, the Stratford Artists Alliance, St. Marys Storytelling, Hermione Presents, Stratford
Summer Music and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival – took part in the program, run by non-profit associaion
Business for the Arts (BFA).

Twenty-eight businesses lent their support, including several Stratford companies including the Stratford
Country Club, Factory 163 and The Stratford Citizen. Danielle Broadhagen, director of Savour Stratford, said being able to advertise the culinary festival’s participation in Artsvest helped her planning committee gain community support.“We found quite a few new sponsors because of [Artsvest],” she said. “That end of the program was really
good.” And when it came to their partnership with Foster’s Inn, the benefits went both ways, said Craig Foster, the
business’s owner.

In return for his investment, Savour Stratford let him sell CDs featuring bands that play at his inn’s restaurant,
Foster said – a key opportunity given that many Savour Stratford attendees are in his target market. Savour
Stratford also promoted his accomodations, which he said are often overshadowed by his restaurant
operations.

“I certainly wouldn’t be opposed,” he said when asked if he’d partner with Savour Stratford again.
Five communities are selected to receive Artsvest each year by a jury, which considers each community’s
cultural plan and the potential of their business sectors to support what arts groups exist.