Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The following was posted on the Barrie Arts Council's blog
You can find a letter template and more information at:

A Call to Action – Please Read, Act and Forward

Dear Friends

Barrie’s Downtown Community Theatre needs your help, and it needs it now. If we do not step forward and speak up, the revitalization of our Downtown Community Theatre could be delayed, or cancelled altogether. Please take five minutes right now to write to your city Councillor, or Council as a whole, to make sure our Theatre gets funded this year. Contact information and a sample letter to aid you can be found here.

At the direction of Council last year, the city applied for funding to renovate our Theatre through the federal Cultural Spaces program. The application process was complex, staff worked diligently to bring it together, and our MP Patrick Brown worked hard to see it through. Barrie was very fortunate to receive an offer of $2.5 million to renovate our Theatre! But Barrie has not yet accepted the funding. It cannot accept it unless and until Council commits our share in the Capital Budget.

On Monday, the Capital Budget process began, and it does NOT currently include funding for our Theatre. Council needs to continue to demonstrate its support of arts and culture by putting this project into the Budget. We need you to ask them to do just that.

Some things to consider:
- Council has made culture a priority, though our Cultural Plan, the establishment of the Department of Culture, adopting culture as an economic driver and as part of downtown revitalization
- Council has wisely invested close to $1.5 million in this project already, and has reaped the benefits of an increasingly vibrant downtown
- The renovations will further boost downtown revitalization and further increase the downtown tax base
- The $2.5 million in funding will vanish if the work is not completed in the next eighteen months – that means this budget
- Arts funding is not like a bank loan – just because we qualified for this grant does not mean funding will be available later; indeed, turning down a grant will stain every future application
- If we can’t find $2.5 million this year, will we really find $5 million next? Or will the renovation die?
- Our theatre is our only community performance space
- Our community has demonstrated commitment through use, attendance, sweat equity, donations and fundraising
- Professional performance requires professional infrastructure
- Our community has waited long enough: we need this now

If we pass on this funding, we will miss a vital opportunity, hinder the arts in our city, and make it more difficult for the artists of tomorrow. Please write to City Council, write letters to the editor, talk to your friends, and help us spread the word.

Check back here for updates.

Thank you for supporting arts and culture in our city.

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