December 19 2018

Message from Nathalie Maillé, Executive Director

Photo : Bernard Préfontaine

The Holidays are upon us. For this last newsletter of the year, I’d like to take a look back at the Conseil’s highlights for 2018. 

Funding for our strategic plan
The year started with a roar with the Plante/Dorais administration’s decision to increase our budget by $2.5 million. This allowed us to invest in a number of actions stemming from our strategic priorities of inclusion, outreach, and the culture of innovation.

A place for everyone in our arts community
The year 2018 was also a period of wide-ranging discussions in our community, discussions that reminded us of how much remains to be done to ensure that our screens, dance floors, and stages present works that truly reflect Montreal's social fabric made up of Indigenous cultures and over 120 ethnic communities. In January, the Council issued a study entitled Professional practices in visual arts arising from Indigeneity and diversity in Montréal, one of the recommendations of which was quickly acted upon with the launch of the Cultural diversity in visual arts Award in partnership with the Ville de Montréal. The prize was awarded to Hua Jin on December 5. A study on increasing cultural equality (Pour une plus grande équité culturelle) conducted in the music sector provided us with practical measures to ensure better representation and equitable support for professional musicians from culturally diverse backgrounds in Montréal. We have scrutinized our touring program and general funding program to identify funding gaps between certain organizations and to increase funding in order to promote equality. I must also mention the establishment of our Indigenous arts committee and the hiring of an Indigenous arts project manager. The Conseil also worked with the British Council to offer our arts community its first-ever relaxed performance training program. By prioritizing inclusion, we have paved the way to go even further in making Montréal’s arts community more representative. The thought process begun in 2018 after everything that has happened will help us develop an equity policy by next year.

Outreach and innovation
Our trade mission pilot project sent seven Montréal arts organizations to Lyon in November to attend the Entretiens Jacques Cartier. But our outreach endeavours were not limited to abroad; creators were more present than ever in Montréal thanks to our touring program, which in 2018 received an investment of $500,000 to give more citizens access to local art in their own backyards. In terms of innovation, we launched the ART & AI research and creation residency in November. Its goal is to allow a Montréal artist or collective from any discipline to work directly with AI developers and gain access to the field’s latest developments. Created in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, Element AI, and Google AI, the program aims to bring industry and creators together. The application deadline for this residency is January 25, so there’s sill time to apply.

I cannot close without thanking the Conseil staff, which has worked relentlessly throughout this year of changes. Year after year, their dedication and passion never fails to impress me. Thank you also to our board of directors, who have provided us with valuable advice and who have been open-minded and inspiring. And thank you to the members of our evaluation committees, who have given countless hours of their time and provided us with their invaluable expertise.

Finally, a huge thank you to all the artists, organizations, collectives, creators, and cultural workers who are the Conseil’s raison d’être and who make us so proud. I wish you all the most joyous of Holiday seasons.