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Extend StreetArt Toronto Funding Deadline to Monday May 7th

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Dear Members of the Arts Community, 

The purpose of the this petition is to extend the StreetART Toronto's funding deadline from April 30th to Monday May 7th at 5pm. StreetARToronto or StART (formally known as the Graffiti Transformation Program) is a new, pro-active program originating out of the Graffiti Management Plan and administered by the Public Realm Section of the Transportation Services Division. This program was developed in January 2012 and  on March 29th the artists, cultural workers, art organizations and community members  were informed of the April 30th deadline.  A public information meeting was held on April 19th intended to provide further information to potential applicants, just 11 days before the deadline.

On April 19th the Neighbourhood's Art Network (NAN) hosted a informational workshop on the City of Toronto's New Street Art Funding program. The event was co-presented by Art Starts, NAN, Whippersnapper Gallery and featured a presentation by StreetArt Toronto manager Lille Zendel. I attended the workshop and was disappointed to hear Zendel preface her presentation with "I'm sorry to those of you who may have heard this a month earlier", and then continued to explain how she had presented to a group of other stakeholders one month previously. This was followed by a question and answer period where I asked "which stakeholders?"  Everyone at the meeting was told the first presentation was only for organizations who had previously received funding from the Graffiti Transformation Program. There were some arts organizations present at the April 19th meeting, who were past program participants but had not been invited to the first meeting.

It became clear that there were select organizations that had received more and earlier information on this program, and therefore have had a longer period to prepare an application. How can we ensure that all applications will be considered equally?

As an Artist and Artistic Director for a non-profit Arts organization in Toronto, I first found out about this program on March 29th through an Akimbo email. On April 10th, NAN emailed a notice about the information session on April 19. Why were arts organizations only given one month notice before the deadline? Why did Zendel present to a group of exclusive stakeholders without public knowledge one month earlier in March? I work for a small organization which could greatly benefit from this program. Like many Arts organizations in the city, we are made up of talented artists, students and passionate community members who together have created some creative and meaningful murals. However, given one month notice is hardly enough time to form community and private partnerships, secure other funding sources and support materials which would greatly strength our application. 

This petition will be presented to the City of Toronto's Public Realm Department on Thursday April 26th. Please circulate and sign is you agree. The goal is to get 100 signatures or more. 

Thank you for your support, 

A concerned Artist and Cultural Worker 

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