What?
BeautifulCity.ca is a city building initiative that aims to beautify, democratize and diversify access to public space, and in turn — hold companies investing in billboard advertising accountable for their impact on shared spaces through an annual license fee.

How?  Through an  tax paid for by third-party billboard advertisers. Revenue would go through Cultural Grants for arts, Clean and Beautiful funding to individual wards and the Community Resource Unit for marginalized communitties. Then directed to art in the public sphere (public art)  through various arms-length agencies and peer assessed processes.  A priority would be put on marginalized communities and youth art. 

“Toronto spends less on arts and culture than other major North American cities. We spend only $13 per-capita, while Montreal spends $32, New York is at $54 and San Francisco allots a whopping $80 in per-capita spending.”

1 – Call and write your councillor. Click here for info and key asks:http://tinyurl.com/yj9cn5f

2 – Sign the petition at: http://www.beautifulcity.ca

3 – Show your support at City Hall on Nov 30th / Dec 1st RSVP here:http://tinyurl.com/y9x4xyt

4 – Spread the word.

 

Thank you for reading this post & please forward this to anyone that believes in art in public spaces. I remember traveling along the highway with my pops when I was a little kid and was mesmerized by the larger than life billboards. But I always found myself wondering why they weren’t saying anything or being used to inform? I guess this is why I’ve always been drawn to and supported anyone doing guerilla marketing ad campaigns. This is why I support my friend Dr. D and anyone else doing so.

Background
After seven years of work, the tax on billboards for art is close to  
becoming a reality! Toronto City Council will be voting on the new  
billboard enforcement bylaw and tax for art on November 30th OR  
December 1st, 2009. We don’t have much time - and we need your help!

Advertising is increasingly infringing on our public spaces, and the  
privilege of leveraging our city for commercial ends should come with  
a responsibility to keep them healthy. Almost all other forms of  
advertising subsidize content in exchange for your attention. The  
billboard tax is a fair and just means for private advertisers to take  
responsibility for their impact on the city.

What it will mean?
What’s at stake is a revolutionary new approach that will help bring  
balance in our communities. The billboard tax will provide the funds  
for proper enforcement of the new billboard bylaw as well as generate  
new funds for art in the public sphere - including murals, sculptures,  
festivals, accessible arts programming, outdoor performances and more.

This is not just about increasing funding to arts in Toronto (which  
lags behind most other cities in cultural spending) this is an  
opportunity to start building the beautiful and creative city we all  
know is possible: to nourish communities; to reclaim and rehabilitate  
our public spaces, and to build our city’s economic potential. For  
every dollar of public arts funding in a regional economy, eight  
dollars are generated (McKinsey Co.) Investment in arts and culture is  
proven to be effective in cultivating healthy and prosperous  
communities -- don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of  
transforming our city!

Implementation of the bylaw and tax would dramatically increase arts  
funding in Toronto while democratizing access to expression public  
space. At the target of 18 million in revenue it would create the  
opportunity for:

- An historic increase to Toronto's arts and culture budget,  
potentially doubling the number of artists and projects receiving  
grants.

- Providing approx. $100,000 annually to each Toronto ward  
for urban beautification, streetscape improvement, and green initiatives

- Provide approx. $300,000 annually to each of Toronto’s 13  
priority neighbourhoods to support accessible youth arts programming.

- Creation of a well-supported bylaw enforcement team to  
keep pervasive illegal advertising in check and an arms-length  
variance system.
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