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Billboard Tax In Toronto Nets 10 Million A Year For Art

July 19, 2013

By Andrea Ott

How was it done? Through the efforts of artists in a 12-year campaign to tax billboards for art. I had the opportunity to meet with Devon Ostrom this week. Devon is the co-founder of BeautifulCity.ca – the alliance of over sixty organizations that advocated for the tax on billboards to fund art in excess of 10 million dollars annually. This led to Toronto City Council passing a commitment to allot 17.5 million dollars in additional annual arts spending. The first batch of funding has been recently released by the Toronto Arts Council. Visit www.beautifulcity.ca for the entire story and check out a video at: http://vimeo.com/65066164.

This initiative shows how creative thinking can result in positive impacts in the arts. In fact, Devon is really good at coming up with other community-driven, urban, art-based projects such as also co-founding Arrivals Canada http://www.arrivals.ca and Manifesto Festival – themanifesto.ca. His current project is to develop the Pan Am Path – the project that aims to create a multi-use cycling and pedestrian path with arts hotspots all along the way from Brampton to Pickering in time for the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games in Toronto. Visit www.PanAmPath.org for details on this project and inspiring video on the concept.

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