'Tax billboards for Art,' Say Hundreds of Artists and Activists Set to Rally at Toronto City Hall on May 5

    TORONTO, April 22 /CNW/ - On May 5th as part of International Youth Week,
hundreds of young artists and organizers will rally at City Hall and discuss
the BeautifulCity.ca campaign. Going to Executive Committee on June 2nd and
City Council for decision in early July, this city building initiative would
see the proceeds from the currently proposed billboard charge dedicated to art
in the public sphere and enforcement of the City of Toronto's signage laws.
    Once implemented, it would mean a historic increase to Toronto's arts
budget: enough to more than double the numbers of artists receiving individual
grants or, to fund hundreds of new arts projects across the city --
effectively turning every day into a vibrant arts festival!
    The BeautifulCity.ca proposal will also help spur the economy. A Council
for Business and the Arts study in 2006 stated that "for every 1 dollar of
public arts funding in a regional economy, 8 are generated." However, in 2008,
the Martin Prosperity Institute found that "the fact that average cities
around the country have expanded their cultural expenditures by more than 4
times as much as the City of Toronto has put Toronto on the low end of
competitive growth."
    The proposal also emphasizes funding the work of talented young artists
who live in Toronto's most impoverished communities. This will not only make
Toronto a more fair and reflective city -- but also healthier. According to a
report from the University of Pennsylvania "Low income neighbourhoods with
higher cultural participation are four times more likely than average to have
low delinquency rates. Neighbourhoods with an active arts scene are nearly
three times more likely to see their poverty rates decline and their
population increase."

    BeautifulCity.ca is endorsed by 40 organizations, 1400 signatories and
backed by multiple Councillors. Environics found that 7/10 Toronto voters
support "a tax on billboards with the funds going to public art," making the
proposal the most popular tax measure a government could implement.

    Presented by Manifesto, Youth Action Network, Toronto Youth Cabinet,
Canadian Youth Arts Network and the BeautifulCity.ca Alliance, a video of the
last Town Hall can be viewed here:

    Event details:
    Toronto City Hall
    Committee Room 2 (second floor)
    May 5, 2009

    Register with:
    Julia Che
    Agents of Change
    416 928 1978

For further information:

For further information: Julia Che, Agents of Change,
julia@beautifulcity.ca, (416) 928-1978

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