June 22 2020

Le Conseil des arts de Montréal reaffirms its commitment to an arts community that is representative of the city

Montréal, June 22, 2020 – The Conseil des arts de Montréal responded to the Systemic Racism and Discrimination within the jurisdiction of the City of Montréal report released Monday by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) with a commitment to take concrete steps over the next two years to change the situation.

“The report exposes the persistent inequalities and shortcomings in the arts community. It is crucial for us that diversity be better represented not only by the artists on stage but also by the audience in attendance. As a public funder, we have the responsibility to help combat the cycle of systemic racism and discrimination in the arts community,” said Jan-Fryderyk Pleszczynski, Chair of the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM).

Increased funding for racialized and Indigenous artists
As the leading support organization for artists in the Montréal region, the Conseil believes that access to funding is primarily responsible for perpetuating the effects of systemic racism. The CAM has found that 11% of its total grants were allocated to culturally diverse artists, organizations, or collectives in 2019 compared to 3% in 2013. “It’s a step in the right direction, but there’s still a big gap to close,” said CAM’s Executive Director.

To remedy the situation, the Conseil commits to updating its equity policy, as well as the resulting action plan, to ensure better funding for racialized and Indigenous artists and help reduce their underrepresentation in Montréal’s cultural life.

“The CAM will conduct a thorough review of its policy because we need a strong foundation based on concepts and principles that reflect the complexity of the challenges. To this end, we want to work with the affected groups to ensure that the standards put forward are fair for everyone,” added Nathalie Maillé. Because we need to go further, we will develop an action plan to, among other things, adapt our funding process and counter its biases or disadvantages.”

Inclusion measures and financial incentives
In its report, the OCPM specifically recommends that the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Service de la culture de la Ville de Montréal establish financial incentives for subsidized organizations that provide measures to include racialized and Indigenous people in their programs and projects as well as on their Boards of Directors.

Currently, applications submitted to the Conseil’s General Funding Program receive an increased rating for actions that promote better representativeness. The CAM has also implemented a self-identification form that will be evaluated to improve how data is collected. “The need is there, and tools exist, but our goal is to better support racialized and Indigenous artists across our programs and in collaboration with our stakeholders,” Maillé stressed.

Attendance data for cultural activities
The OCPM also recommends that the City of Montréal produce borough-specific data on attendance by racialized and Indigenous people at the city’s cultural activities. The CAM believes that having this data is necessary and welcomes this recommendation. It should be noted that the Board participated in the consultations that led to the OCPM report. Its report, Racisme et discrimination systémiques dans les arts : analyse et réflexions sur le parcours du Conseil des arts de Montréal, can be found here (In French Only).

About the Conseil des arts de Montréal
As a dynamic partner of artistic creativity in Montreal, the Conseil des arts de Montréal identifies, supports and recognizes excellence and innovation in the creation, production and presentation of professional artistic endeavours. It encourages openness, discovery and daring at the heart of Montreal’s artistic landscape, thanks to its initiatives. Since 1956, the Conseil des arts de Montréal has been an influential player in the development of “Montreal, Cultural Metropolis.”