artsVest Goes National

Toronto, March 31, 2011 – Business for the Arts (BftA), Canada’s only national association of business leaders who support the arts, has announced plans to expand artsVest, their flagship matching grant program to provinces outside of Ontario with the addition of $1.6M in funding from Canadian Heritage.   These funds will be matched by provinces who come on board, which in turn will be matched by the private sector.

Nichole Anderson, President & CEO of Business for the Arts, says, “Business for the Arts is delighted to develop this partnership with Canadian Heritage to support the growth and development of Canada’s rich arts landscape in provinces across the country.”  Anderson adds, “When artsVest began in Ontario four years ago, we hadn’t completely understood the tremendous impact it would make by stimulating more than double the amount of private sector investment in the arts.  This funding has been critical in empowering arts and culture organizations and helping them establish meaningful new partnerships with the business community.  We are excited to be able to bring artsVest to more provinces in Canada.”

artsVest is a matching incentive and sponsorship training program designed to stimulate business investment in arts and culture, bolster municipal cultural plans and help develop the creative economy.  Since 2006, Business for the Arts has delivered artsVest to 16 municipalities across Ontario, with funding from the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the business members of Business for the Arts.  With an investment of $1.6M from Canadian Heritage, plans are now underway to expand the program to provinces who also make a matching investment in the program.

Through artsVest, a total of $1,400,000 private sector dollars have been invested in the arts and culture community, with an initial matching investment of $785,000 in 16 municipalities.  Funding for artsVest is used to deliver workshops and incentive funds for the private sector to support small and mid-sized arts and culture organizations who often have little experience approaching the business sector and lack access to large corporate backing.  artsVest’s impact includes partnerships between 485 businesses and 175 arts and culture organizations in Ontario since the program was launched in 2006.  artsVest has stimulated first time investments in the arts from 280 businesses.

Dr. James (Jim) D. Fleck, O.C., Chairman of Business for the Arts, says, “In Ontario, artsVest has been a tremendous boost for the cultural sector, the local economy and the community as a whole.  It is wonderful to be part of a program that has garnered support from municipal leaders, and has created real partnerships between business and the arts.  The best part is that to date, almost half of the businesses are first time arts supporters.”  Dr. Fleck adds, “We are delighted that we will be able to see other provinces benefit from this effective community-building program going forward.”

In 2010, the artsVest Ontario program generated 125 new business sponsors for 45 arts and culture organizations, investing a total of $490,000 new dollars into five Ontario municipalities from an initial matching fund of $250,000.  Local celebrations have been held across the province, engaging municipal, business and arts leaders.  Business for the Arts will be inviting new municipalities in Ontario to apply for participation in the artsVest Ontario program in April 2011.   BftA expects to make further announcements about national plans for delivering the artsVest program to other provinces in the coming months.

Business for the Arts, founded in 1974, is Canada’s only national association dedicated to increasing the quantity and quality of partnerships between business and the arts through a cohesive set of programs that foster and promote business leadership in the arts, facilitate funding relationships, and connect businesses to the arts for funding, volunteering, and workshops.

Media inquiries, please contact:

Melony Jamieson: 416-518-6355