Don’t let this virus also kill our art

Help IBPOC artists—and their art—survive the pandemic.

89% of Torontonians believe that the arts make life in Toronto better.

95% of Ontarians believe that the success of Canadian artists generates national pride.

Yet, despite its value, artists make very little money. At $24,300, the median annual income for artists is well below the poverty line. Arts and culture workers have one of the highest rates of poverty of any sector. Things are starker still for IBPOC artists — their median income is 28% less than white artists’.

Before the pandemic, the arts sector had already been gutted by budget cuts. Ontario cut funding to the Ontario Arts Council by $10 million. A $5 million Indigenous Culture Fund was cancelled. The Ontario Music Fund? A $8 million cut. All in 2019 alone.

And then, in 2020, came the unkindest cut of all. COVID-19.

COVID-19 ravaged IBPOC communities. Our most vulnerable communities, always the most exposed to any threat, have been devastated by the pandemic.

But, in the heart of darkness, IBPOC artistic talent has burned brightly and brought us light. Throughout the pandemic, IBPOC artists — and the artistic community as a whole — made art that lifted us, gave us strength and sustained our spirits.

At the same time, the pandemic has been an unmitigated catastrophe for the arts sector. 2/3rds of arts & culture organizations reported a median revenue decline of 50%. Many IBPOC artists lost income as in person shows, exhibitions and other opportunities were cancelled — 12,000 performances were cancelled in Toronto alone.

Despite this the arts community kept working. And that’s no surprise. Artists work longer hours than the average full-time Canadian worker.


What work did they do?

They performed outdoors for seniors locked-in, in long-term care facilities. They staged porch concerts and backyard shows for their neighbours. They sang arias from their balconies for front line workers. They took their poetry readings online and made them available for free. They led dance classes and acting studios and paint-alongs, live, on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube.

They did it for free.

They did it for us.

CPAMO has been working for more than a decade to recognize IBPOC and other marginalized artists. Not only do we advocate for the creation of opportunities and equity for them, we engage them ourselves. IBPOC artists and arts administrators are paid to showcase their art and join our panels at The Gathering, our signature event (or, if you want to be formal, The Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival and Conference).


Who have we showcased over the years?

Modern Times, Aluna, Cahoots, Native Earth Performing Arts in theatre.

In music, Small World Music and Polyphonic Ground.

In dance, Sampradaya Dance Creations, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Collective of Black Artists, Dance Immersion, and many individual Indigenous and racialized artists.

The artists and arts practices presenters we engage come from Indigenous, racialized, queer and intersectional communities.

Our next Gathering will take place in December 2021 and our theme is Art in a Time of Healing. The Gathering’s Art in a Time of Healing is envisioned as a way to gather, diverge with diversity and intersect on the many aspects of the performing arts and the Arts sector. Through panels, workshops, exhibitions and showcases it encourages divergence across arts practices, collaboration, art making and Anti-Black racism.

We need financial support to help us keep spotlighting works of art by Indigenous, racialized and historically marginalized artists. We need your help.

Your donation will pay IBPOC artists and arts administrators who present at our December 2021 Gathering. This is a unique opportunity to contribute to an event that showcases a broad range of artistic practices. Black organizations receive as little as 7 cents for every $100 donated to Canada's big charities. Let’s work together to change that.


We will recognize every donation with a token of our appreciation.

Tier 1. $1 to $99: a personalized shout-out on CPAMO social media channels* and a bookmark and pin in the mail!

Tier 2. $100 to $499: everything in Tier1 plus a choice of a book OR a t-shirt in the mail.

Tier 3. $500 or more: everything in Tier 1 plus a choice of a Portrait Commission from Ilene Sova OR an original art print by artist Astrid Ho. Available to the first 2 donations only.


* unless you choose to contribute anonymously


About CPAMO

Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) is a IBPOC-led movement of Indigenous and racialized artists engaged in empowering the arts communities of Ontario. CPAMO seeks to open opportunities for Indigenous and racialized professionals and organizations to build capacity through access and working relationships with cultural institutions across Ontario that will result in constructive relationships with Indigenous and racialized professionals and organizations. This is a unique opportunity for you to contribute to events that showcase a wide array of diverse voices in a broad range of artistic mediums. For more information: www.cpamo.org

  • Laura Nanni 
    • $75 
    • 5 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 5 d
  • Lisa Smith 
    • $50 
    • 9 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 14 d
  • Clayton Windatt 
    • $100 
    • 15 d
See all

Organizer

charles c. smith 
Organizer
Toronto, ON
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