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The Canadian Conference of the Arts Closes Its Doors After 67 Years

The Canadian Conference of the Arts Closes Its Doors After 67 Years

The Canadian Conference of the Arts to Close Doors after 67 Years

Message from the Chair

Dear friends and colleagues,

It is with great sadness that the Board of Gover­nors of the CCA came to the conclusion last week that we have to shut down operations immediately. I can tell you that the decision announced today, while not a surprise given the known challenges we were facing, was most dif­ficult to take.

Since hearing in mid-April of the Harper government’s decision to deny us the two year transition funding we had requested, the staff has been working tirelessly to see if there was a chance we could pull through based on the six months of support received from Canadian Heritage. Early signs were positive beyond our expectations. The response to membership renewals was most encouraging: in just over three months, we collected half of our increased target ($100K) for the year. A number of new organizations joined, more than a dozen increased their contribution to reflect their budgets, and others indi­cated clearly that they were ready to contribute substantially more. We were developing a variety of strategies for a membership drive, like the one launched by the Edmonton Arts Council on our behalf. Through our Founders’ Circle initiative, we had found suffi­cient funding to see us through to next March, and we were working on projects that cre­ated real interest.

Message from the National Director

This morning the CCA issued a press release titled, The Canadian Conference of the Arts closes its doors after 67 years. I don’t need to tell you how difficult it has been to write those words down and how we have tried our best not to express them. But there comes a moment when reality stares down the most hopeful outlook on things.

It is seven years to the day that I was given the job of National Director of the CCA. Dur­ing these years I have developed the greatest of respect for this organization and the incredible contribution it has made to the development of cultural policies at the federal level. How many times, particularly over the past two years, have I heard people say that if we did not have the CCA, we would have to invent it? Over the last 18 months we have enthusiastically embraced the challenge set before us by the government’s decision to put an end to 47 years of funding. We attempted to reinvent the organization as an autonomous body, but as our Chair Kathleen Sharpe says in her letter, we would have needed two years of funding to transition to this new model, rather than the brief six months that we were given.

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