Source: Canadian Conference of the Arts
Dear friends and colleagues,
It is with great sadness that the Board of Governors of the CCA came to the conclusion last week that we have to shut down operations immediately. I can tell you that the decision announced today, while not a surprise given the known challenges we were facing, was most difficult to take.
Since hearing in mid-April of the Harper government’s decision to deny us the two year transition funding we had requested, the staff has been working tirelessly to see if there was a chance we could pull through based on the six months of support received from Canadian Heritage. Early signs were positive beyond our expectations. The response to membership renewals was most encouraging: in just over three months, we collected half of our increased target ($100K) for the year. A number of new organizations joined, more than a dozen increased their contribution to reflect their budgets, and others indicated clearly that they were ready to contribute substantially more. We were developing a variety of strategies for a membership drive, like the one launched by the Edmonton Arts Council on our behalf. Through our Founders’ Circle initiative, we had found sufficient funding to see us through to next March, and we were working on projects that created real interest.
But a sober assessment of our prospects for 2013–14 led us to the sad conclusion that despite our best efforts, we could not do in six months what we had told the government would take a minimum of two years to put in place. Time was not on our side to keep operations going as we tried to restructure, and we resolved that it would be irresponsible on our part to accept funding, private and public, under such circumstances.
As you will see in this summary, the CCA has played a crucial role over the past 67 years in the development of the Canadian cultural sector and of federal cultural policies. The CCA was and remains the largest alliance that brings the whole Canadian arts, culture and heritage sector together. It alone provides a national forum where issues of common interest can be discussed and pursued. This is why it must not disappear altogether.
Over the past several months, we have confirmed in a nation-wide consultation and through the support of a large number of you that the need for this unique common instrument is greater now than ever. Many of you have told us over the past several months that if we did not have the CCA, we would have to invent it. In order to facilitate this to the full extent of our capacity, we are taking measures to put the organization in a state of suspension, putting in place a caretaker Board charged with preserving our incorporation and our charitable status. You will find in our National Director’s blog more details about how we leave the organization. We look forward to the day when a new group of stakeholders picks up the torch to revive the CCA as a unique observer and independent voice for Canadian culture at the national level.
In closing, I want to express my gratitude to my colleagues on the Board for their generous commitment to the organization over the past years. And my warmest thanks to the staff of the CCA who, throughout what was a very difficult and challenging period, showed exceptional loyalty, dedication to the organization and quiet creativity in both approach and style.
We leave proud both of the efforts made and of the rich legacy of the CCA. Let us hope that this is just a temporary hiatus and that a new revitalized CCA will spring up from the seed we leave behind.
© Canadian Conference of the Arts