Advisory/Photo Op: Art Rally Tomorrow, Billboard Tax for Art at City Hall

    TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - Over a hundred artists, organizations and young
people are set to rally tomorrow at City Hall and discuss the
proposal: a tax on billboards with the funds going to public art, including
festivals, murals, sculptures, outdoor performances and more.
    Demonstrating what vibrantly contributing to public spaces with art could
look like - media opportunities include live painting starting at 5:30pm by
Elicser Elliot, Patrick Thompson/Evoke and Jennifer Rudski as well as
interview opportunities with the organizers. Live music by Canadian DMC
Champion DJ Tlo and spoken word by Kamau will follow. The forum will be
moderated by a trio of successful young Canadian artists: Che Kothari
(photographer), Ravi Jain (theater director) and international female hip hop
sensation, Masia One.
    Cresting this summer,'s city building idea was first
proposed in 2003. In 2007, Executive Committee directed City Staff to report
on the: "application of a billboard tax, specifically for the purposes of
raising revenue to administer the by-law (to govern billboards) and raise
revenues for city beautification, arts or cultural initiatives." On June 2,
2009 it will be voted on by Executive Committee, followed by Council in July.
    To view the most recent estimates of revenue by the City of Toronto's
Sign By-law Project (now up to $52 million) expected from a billboard charge,
please download:
(570 kb)

    If Toronto City Council approves a charge of only $18 million per year on
the billboard industry, the following would be possible:
    -   An historic 53% increase to the annual municipal funding available to
        all artists, festivals and arts institutions.
    -   Close to $100,000 dollars for public realm improvement for each of
        Toronto's 44 wards, every year.
    -   Over $300,000 annually for each of the 13 priority neighbourhoods to
        fund accessible youth arts programming.
    -   Hiring 17 dedicated staff to enforce the new billboard bylaw, create
        a public inventory, direct removals and collect fines.

    Watch the Video (draft version) (27 M - wait to load)
    Download April 22 CNW Release: (145
    Download Councillor's Brief / Environics Poll: (96 kb)

    Event details
    Toronto City Hall
    Council Chambers
    May 5, 2009

For further information:

For further information: Interview Requests: Julia Che, Agents of
Change,, (416) 928-1978,

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