The Grand Theatre on Richmond Street. Photo provided. The Grand Theatre on Richmond Street. Photo provided.

London's arts and culture organizations concerned about multi-year budget

Arts and culture organizations across London have united in their advocacy efforts regarding the municipality's proposed 2024-2027 budget.

Museum London, the Grand Theatre, the London Arts Council, and the London Public Library sent a joint letter to City Council and Mayor Josh Morgan to state some of their concerns.

"The budget as it stands presents significant challenges for arts, culture, heritage, or library services, at a time when we are being called upon to transform our operations and offerings, to engage a growing diverse population in new ways, and become increasingly accessible, inclusive, equitable and sustainable," the letter said. "Now, while still in a period of recovery after the pandemic, and facing new pressures and constraints given the challenging conditions where we operate in downtown London, we need to collaborate across sectors and we need support and participation from the City of London as much as possible."

In the letter, the group cited research that links arts and culture to positive physical and mental health for people in all phases of life.

"The City's strategic plan recognizes that investment in arts, culture, heritage and libraries is tied to economic prosperity, the revitalization of the core area, attracting and retaining talent, and contributing to quality of life," the group said. "Our work also plays a critical role in advancing goals around reconciliation, inclusion, anti-racism, and anti-oppression."

Representatives from the organizations asked that council engage with them, explore more options to support them, and consider striking a standing committee that works to strengthen the arts, culture, heritage, and library services eco-system.

"As London grows, to realize its full potential as a safe, thriving City and destination of choice, and a place where our children want to make their homes and raise future generations, the City of London needs to meaningfully invest in its existing arts, cultural, heritage, and library assets and recognize that these too are essential ingredients for a safe, healthy, inclusive, and vibrant community," the letter concluded.

The public is invited to attend the second Budget Public Participation Meeting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27 at City Hall.

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