For months the City of Brampton has been researching and conducting extensive consultations with the public to create a comprehensive plan on how to support and grow the local arts and culture scene in the city.
Conducted by the city’s Economic Development and Arts and Culture Departments, it marked the first time in the Brampton’s history that such a thorough process has been undertaken, and city staff presented the finished Culture Master Plan during Wednesday’s Committee of Council Meeting.
For years, one of the main concerns for the arts community has been a lack of funding. Acknowledging this, council approved a minimum of $372,000 in the 2019 budget to support a non-profit, arms-length organization that would assist the city in implementing arts and culture programs and services, and also serve as an “animator and multi-arts umbrella for local arts advancement.”
“The consultant told Council that intentional planning around culture is key – I happen to believe that adequate funding is extremely critical to achieving that planning vision,” says Mayor Linda Jeffrey. “We have a lot of catching up to do considering that three of the stated goals in the plan rely on increased funding by council.”
The plan has three main components. The first is supporting success, whereby the city will leverage private and public resources to finance programs and services laid out in the Culture Master Plan.
The second is developing a community of practice, which means the city will help build funding opportunities for local creators and cultural groups, increase Brampton’s inventory of physical and digital space to facilitate presentation, production, participation, collaboration. The plan also outlines the need to further establish Brampton as a viable place for creators to live, work and develop their talent.
The third is to build Brampton’s identity, which will include “Facilitate meaningful exchange between diverse creators, groups and audiences that enrich the community” and “Cultivate strong lines of communication within Brampton’s creative community, market Brampton’s cultural products, and develop a reputation as a youthful, cutting-edge cultural hot spot on the world stage.
With the upcoming municipal election in October and retirements causing certain changes to council, councillors expressed the need to expedite the process of implementing the plan. City staff are now tasked with creating the framework for the arm’s length organization.
The approval of the Arts and Culture Master Plan was unanimously supported by the committee to an enthusiastic round of applause from those gathered, many of whom represented various arts and culture groups in Brampton.
“The Culture Master Plan challenges the city to institutionalize arts and culture in order to create, develop, and nurture a vibrant, progressive, and relevant arts and culture scene in Brampton,” says Carmen Spada, Co-Founder of local arts non-profit B-Jazzed and, “I look forward to participating in this shift of support and vision for arts and culture in Brampton.”
It’s an ambitious plan, but it will better position Brampton to take advantage of the growth opportunities that inevitably happen in cities that embrace robust arts and culture sector.