STATEMENTS FROM THE KINGSTON ARTS COUNCIL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
May, 26 2021
The past fourteen months have been unlike anything our community has experienced in our lifetimes. Collectively, we’ve worked without a script to try to ensure the show goes on and to care for our cast of family, colleagues and neighbours along the way.
At the Kingston Arts Council (KAC), our job has always been to ask, “What does our arts community need from us right now?” and to do our best to be of service. The answers to that question have never been as varied and urgent as over the past year.
Recently, we opened our first call for applications for the new CKAF Resiliency grant and today, we are pleased to announce the grant’s first recipients. Our first call received 162 eligible applications, illuminating the great need for this support.
The stories our applicants shared with us illustrated both the devastation of the pandemic and the true resiliency of our artists. Many spoke of the hardships they’ve faced - loss of jobs and opportunities, food insecurity, uncertainty about their ability to stay in Kingston - and in the same breath, they told us of their new creative work and collaborations, the ways they have innovated to keep the show going and, most strikingly, the ways they have stepped up to support their neighbours despite facing their own challenges.
The pandemic is new. What isn’t new is how our community has responded: Kingston’s artists and arts groups always respond with creativity and compassion.
For our part, the Kingston Arts Council has strived to respond to our community’s most urgent needs, while also ensuring the health and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers. We continue to connect our community with much-needed resources and strategies, and the latest sector information. Both locally and provincially (through the Alliance of Arts Councils of Ontario, co-founded by the KAC last spring), we persist in our efforts to advocate for better support for the arts, including increased funding and comprehensive recovery frameworks. We are also proud to have created opportunities for our community to come together to offer peer support and learning.
Our staff continue to work from home but we look forward to returning to our office at the Tett Centre for Creativity & Learning when it is safe to do so. We remain available to help artists, arts workers and arts groups navigate next steps as we move toward recovery together. We know that it will be a long road, but we also know that there is no other sector better poised to thrive in a post-pandemic world: There’s no community more resourceful, innovative and resilient than our arts community.
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can be of any support, and thank you again for all you are doing to care for yourselves, your families, your staff and colleagues, and your neighbours.
The Kingston Arts Council is committed to providing support, up-to-date information and resources for our arts community throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. As Kingston citizens and members of our arts community, our staff and board know firsthand that this is a challenging and emotional time, and the full impact of the pandemic on our arts sector and broader community is still to be seen. We will continue to serve our mission to provide strategic leadership and services for the arts — as funder, leader, advocate, resource and facilitator of opportunities — in Kingston and the surrounding area.
In the coming weeks, we will be offering opportunities for artists, arts workers and leaders to come together online to provide mutual support, share knowledge and continue to strengthen our incredible community. We will be promoting these opportunities on our website and social media, as well as through our e-newsletters to which you can subscribe by following this link.
Our staff also continue to be available by email at the addresses below. We encourage you to reach out if there are ways we can support you during this trying time. We also encourage you to continue to make art and build community (if perhaps at a distance) and we are happy to promote your efforts to do so. We ask for your patience as we navigate these challenging times ourselves, both personally and professionally, but assure you that we will respond to all messages as quickly as we can. Please see below for additional information, including a link to a resource list on our website.
Thank you for all you’re doing to take care of yourselves, your families, your staff and colleagues, and your neighbours. The arts have always provided comfort and connection, and a way for us to tell our human stories...and what stories we already have!
On behalf of the staff and board, I wish you and yours well.
UPDATE FROM THE KINGSTON ARTS COUNCIL
In response to COVID-19, the Kingston Arts Council office located within the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning will be closed until further notice. All Unit 115 Community Arts Space activities are suspended. Staff can be reached via email at the addresses listed at the bottom of this page. Please note that we are unable to check for voicemail messages at this time, so please reach out to us by email if needed.
We have put together a list of resources for artists, arts workers and arts organizations. We will regularly update this list to keep it current and comprehensive. You can find it on our website at http://www.artskingston.ca/covid-19-list-of-resources/. We are making every effort to ensure this page is up-to-date and comprehensive. If you know of a resource that would be beneficial for our arts community, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com.
The KAC and the City of Kingston are committed to the continuation of the City of Kingston Arts Fund (CKAF). For more information about this, visit our COVID-19 CKAF Impact page.
Please track the financial impact of cancelled and postponed gigs and events. Potential compensation to be released following the crisis period will likely require documentation of impact; consider spending the time now to track and document revenue loss. Our list of resources includes support in this area.
Continue to support the arts
We are asking the community at large to keep supporting artists and arts workers, whose livelihoods are at risk. If you can afford to do so, we encourage you to take the following steps:
- If an event you had tickets for is cancelled, please consider donating the ticket fee instead of requesting a refund. Contact the organization or the artists to find out how you can do that.
- If you were planning to buy your tickets at the door / later, and the event got cancelled, please consider donating the ticket fee to the artists or organization.
- For arts organizations and businesses that offer memberships or gift certificates, please consider purchasing those now.
- Reach out, check in. These are times of uncertainty for everybody and the decision to cancel an event is extremely stressful, especially as information regarding additional financial support from the government has not yet been released. Send an email, pick up the phone, and find out how you could help. Please have patience with event organizers and groups as they navigate these constantly changing circumstances.
The Kingston Arts Council understands that the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought incredible challenges for artists, arts workers and arts organizations. Please be assured that we will work with you to provide support and information throughout this time.
Please contact us by email and check our website http://www.artskingston.ca/ for more information on how we are continuing to support the community.
Kirsi Hunnakko, Executive Director: Kirsi@artskingston.ca
Laura Chaignon, Programming and Communications Coordinator: Laura@artskingston.ca
Felix Lee, Grants Coordinator: Grants@artskingston.ca
General email: firstname.lastname@example.org