Ottawa’s cultural sector contributes greatly to our city’s economy and our enviable quality of life. The Ottawa Cultural Alliance works collaboratively to strategically address shared opportunities and challenges to further advance the sector’s success. Members of the Alliance have collaborated for many years to advance cultural priorities in the City of Ottawa. In spring 2015, as we advocated for completion of the City of Ottawa’s Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Culture and Heritage in Ottawa (2013-18), the groups agreed to acknowledge this activity by giving our collaboration a formal name.
The Alliance comprises umbrella organizations that collectively serve as the voice for this vibrant sector, including: Capital Heritage Connexion (CHC|CPC), Heritage Ottawa, Ottawa Arts Council, Arts Network Ottawa, Ottawa Festivals Network, Ottawa Museum Network and Ottawa Music Industry Coalition.
Ottawa’s cultural sector understands the difficult challenge Councillors are facing–keeping the tax increase affordable for residents while investing in City services areas of high need.
Culture is also feeling this challenge.
Even with an increase of the City’s Cultural Funding Envelope (CFE) in 2023, sustainability and growth will remain an ongoing challenge. The CFE invests in all types of culture: museums, arts groups, festivals, artists of all kinds and agricultural fairs. The City has done incredible work in recent years with the programs the CFE supports. There has been a significant increase in attracting new applicants and growing important programs like Equity in the Arts Program and Rural Arts Initiative. We want this to continue to grow.
Looking to the future, cultural organizations are asking themselves: how can funding programs grow to invest in new priorities and historically underrepresented groups and also deliver stability and growth to the many cultural organizations who rely on this funding to deliver their programs and services to residents?
The culture sector contributes significantly to our City, in economic returns and providing jobs and innovation, and equally in delivering important social services, community engagement, programs and events to residents and tourists.
One of Council’s priorities is to diversify our economy and amplify our region’s brand. Culture is a key tool to achieve this and many of this term of Council’s priorities. Creative people and cultural leaders are entrepreneurs who drive innovation. Culture makes Ottawa an interesting place to live, work, play, visit and do business.
Growth in the City’s cultural initiatives and the CFE will also be key to talent attraction and retention for the Region–growing opportunities for artists, techs, and cultural workers of all kinds to build careers here in Ottawa is essential to the economic and social impacts culture is making.
Council also wants to make Ottawa a liveable and safe place for all. Culture makes Ottawa a place where we all want to live. It animates our neighbourhoods and contributes to public safety. It inspires our children to be creative and grow. It transforms lives.
From Carp to Cumberland, 368 local organizations and professional artists were supported by City of Ottawa cultural funding in 2022, only 0.0021% of the City’s total budget. That’s why, for this and other reasons outlined above, the Ottawa Cultural Alliance is asking that for the 2024 Budget, Council:
More details about our budget requests can be found here.
We urge you to grow the important investments you are making in our community. Culture is needed and a key part of making Ottawa a vibrant, liveable and inclusive place.
On July 10, 2023, Capital Heritage Connexion and the other members of the Ottawa Cultural Alliance sent a letter to Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and our City Councillors to ask that they integrate heritage, arts and culture into their new term of Council Priorities.
The letter emphasizes that heritage, arts and culture are essential to Ottawa’s brand and that investment in these sectors are imperative to our city’s success and growth. The letter also outlines the importance of having a cultural ambassador around the City Council table, someone who can speak for the City’s cultural sector and remind everyone that Culture Counts!
CHC especially wanted to emphasize the important role that heritage plays in placemaking and sustainability in the National Capital Region, including (but not limited to) the reuse and adaptive reuse of heritage buildings when it comes to urban development and densification.
Read the letter here and learn more about how we advocated for City Council to view all term priorities through a cultural lens.
Ottawa Cultural Alliance Members:
Capital Heritage Connexion
Ottawa Arts Council
Arts Network Ottawa
Ottawa Festivals Network
Ottawa Museum Network
Ottawa Music Industry Coalition