In 2025, the Conseil des arts de Montréal will be recognized as a leader and catalyst for an even more inclusive, sustainable and resilient ecosystem of artistic communities for the benefit of the people of Montréal. To guide the organization and stay the course, the CAM developed a strategic plan after consulting and listening to the interested parties in its community with the guidance and support of the Deloitte firm. The following is the outcome of this essential thought process.
Message from the President and Executive Director
The activities leading up to a strategic plan exercise are always a pivotal, exciting time for any organization. The current process was no exception. It showed us how far we have come since 2018 — particularly during the recent storm — and helped to engage in a dialogue with our teams, our close collaborators and many representatives of the Montréal arts community in order to write the next pages of our script. Together.
This same thought process revealed that for the CAM to remain relevant while pursuing clear objectives, it must first and foremost remain connected and engaged in ongoing open and thought-provoking discussions with the various stakeholders in its ecosystem. The CAM must act as a spokesperson for the arts community, with a focus on calling attention to the community’s importance and leading it into action.
Finally, the success of this plan depends on our collective ability to financially support recipients with varied and replenished revenue streams while keeping administrative costs at optimal levels.
To artists and organizations: this plan is your plan too. It is ambitious and realistic because Montréal needs your artistic vitality more than ever. When we talk about vitality, we’re also talking about diversity—of practices, forms, creators and audiences. Thanks to the teams that support us, our partners and our committees, we’re rising to the challenge with this Strategic Plan, which strengthens our values for an even stronger, more sustainable arts sector.
The challenge is significant, and all of us are carried forward by the deep determination of the artists and cultural workers who inspire us every day.
Ben Marc Diendéré, Chair
Nathalie Maillé, Executive Director
Driven forward toward recovery, the CAM has seized post-pandemic opportunities to clarify its vision and priorities. As shown by fall 2021’s Léger poll, “Les arts toujours au cœur des citoyens”, the general public is more aware than ever of the importance of arts and culture in our society.
Naturally, the immediate challenges inherent in funding, precariousness, labour, the transformation of work and the recreation of bonds with the public spring to mind. But we must also remember the strong capacity for innovation, changes in artistic practice and approaches, and the use of digital technology and new technologies as other factors to consider in the arts community. The creation of closer ties is in full swing, along with the democratization of art within living environments. Ecoresponsibility, interdisciplinarity, new presentation venues and resource sharing are other important trends.
A growing sensitivity about the importance of enhancing and developing a philanthropic culture within the arts is another area that demands our attention.
In this context, the CAM aims rely on its strengths to advance its vision:
- a proximity approach with Montréal’s arts community
- organizational responsiveness and ability to adapt quickly
- strategic use of its own financial resources
- agility and boldness, to gain the flexibility needed to create experiences that benefit the entire ecosystem
- a strong, committed and collaborative team with the competence, listening skills, human approach and unifying leadership to make it shine
CAM, a proud partner working in cooperation with the City of Montréal to implement the municipal Montréal 2030 Strategic Plan. The CAM is the ideal organization to take action on the following City priority: Support the cultural vitality of Montréal and its creative heart, including cultural industries, artists, creators and cultural workers, and ensure the sustainability of their activities in its territory.
In line with the city’s other directions, the CAM must also reflect the interest in strengthening solidarity, equity and inclusion, in accelerating the ecological transition by supporting the circular and social economy for one thing, and in improving democracy and civic participation through active involvement in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, among other things.
5 priority issues
Increasing its budget in an inflationary and uncertain economy
- Need to continuously expand the importance placed by governments and the private sector on the role of the arts
- Risk of stagnation or decline in government spending on culture as the crisis ends
- Income diversification through organizational culture and philanthropic activities
Sustained relevancy by staying connected to the needs of artists and citizens
- Ability to keep artists and the public engaged post-crisis
- Territorial diversification to ensure a cultural footprint across the entire Island
- Renewed ability to identify future talent and disciplines
- Risk of losing relevance if CAM is unable to support new initiatives
- Obligation to make choices streamlining its intervention or greater selectivity to avoid scattering or diluting its impact
Continued effort in connection with a sustainable transition and the dictates of inclusion and diversity in an uncertain context
Imperatives of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
Expanded influence and visibility
To penetrate new circles, to meet different communities, different types of actors of the population.
Top-level organizational performance
The capacity to elicit trust among its partners and donors and to diversify its revenues.
CAM’s 4 roles
Acknowledge and raise awareness
Document and publicize:
- the social and economic impacts of the arts
- the precarious socio-economic conditions facing artists
- the income streams needed for the arts to exist
- spontaneous or planned donations
Identify and engage
Advocate for the artistic and cultural communities in dealings with the various levels of government and with philanthropic parties.
Foster a continuum of commitment to the arts, including:
- public advocacy in support of the arts
- democratic action (review committee membership, support or voting on public policy in support of the arts, a manifesto, bill, etc.)
- scouting of opportunities to support artists and projects not yet supported and beneficial to the community
- artist involvement in civil society organizations and other communities (business, tourism, community, etc.)
Coordinate and collaborate
Gather and share resources and expertise to optimize:
- our ability to meet more needs in a more equitable ways as far as communities are concerned
- environmentally responsible community practices
- the research-creation-production-dissemination continuum
- access to the arts near living spaces
Support and guide
Provide financial and human support to projects and organizations
Diversify our revenue streams, particularly through philanthropic continuity strategies
3 major strategic pillars
Equity and representativeness
In order to better represent Montréal’s artistic reality and diversity, the CAM has set itself a major objective for 2025: to allocate 25% of its financial support to its priority clienteles in underrepresented groups.
The CAM will rely on a renewed equity policy, an even more representative governance model, guidance with even greater proximity, and targeted measures and actions to advance its work in scouting, supporting and recognizing artists and practices that remain underrepresented.
To achieve this, the CAM teams will continue to rally their strengths and the strengths of the community to ensure contact with all artists, and to understand and remove barriers to access to its programs and cultural participation. The goal is to enrich Montréal’s artistic ecosystem overall.
- Identify and initiate opportunities to support artists and projects that are not yet supported and beneficial to the community
- Increase the identification of artists and organizations from priority groups and better represent the multiple faces and dimensions of the Montreal population
- Consolidate funding and support for priority groups defined by the equity policy and newly welcomed to CAM
- Continue to support the arts community in the fight against racism and discrimination to ensure greater representation of diversity
- Ensuring that peers are represented on evaluation committees
2025 Target: 25% of financial support to priority groups
Consolidate Montréal’s creative core
Supporting the creative heart of Montréal is the essence of CAM’s mission. Giving organizations the means to carry out their mandates while ensuring decent living conditions for artists, artisans and cultural workers has been our driving purpose since 1956. This relationship of trust is based on the CAM’s ability to engage as a long-term preferred partner of Montréal organizations, collectives and artists. It also requires CAM to play an innovative, intermediary role on social and economic issues that affect the artistic community, in ordinary times and in times of crisis.
To help us see further into the future as a society, artists need comprehensive, sustainable and predictable support. Consolidating this support means strengthening our relationships of trust.
- Review and analyze the Council’s programs to address the pathways of artists and arts organizations
- Evaluate the funding of artists and organizations that have distinguished themselves in relation to the Council’s objectives
- Contribute to the development of initiatives to fight against the socio-economic precariousness of artists
2025 Target: 60% of financial support dedicated to the operation of organizations
Proximity is first and foremost determined by the relationships the team has with artists and organizations to meet their needs in a relevant way, consistently from a perspective of equity, inclusion and diversity. This work is carried out hand-in-hand with committed staff and local players to ensure that artists can create, produce or disseminate their works near their homes. To create this proximity, we rely on a rich panoply of accessible artistic production in sync with the green transition underway within the CAM and its partners; on clear and structuring programs that support the artistic aspirations of the communities; and on an international presence that recognizes and nurtures the rich artistic heritage arising from the diversity of Montréal Island’s population.
- Develop a precise knowledge of the presence of artists on the Montreal territory
- Consolidate an understanding of the issues facing the stakeholders who make up the vast artistic network in the Montreal agglomeration
- Intensify the Council’s strategic presence on the territory in order to reach the clienteles most distant from its programs and services
- Enable arts collectives and organizations to establish themselves, create or present near their living environment in adequate and well-equipped venues throughout the territory
- Integrate into programs the best environmentally responsible practices for the circulation of works, residencies and other territorial initiatives
- Evaluate the Council’s role in positioning itself on the regional, national and international scenes
- Enable Montreal’s artistic community to nourish their research and creation in other territories
2025 Target: Increase support or presence of the arts in areas under-served by CAM on the island of Montreal
Recognized for its leadership in nurturing professionalism and strengthening the philanthropic capacity of Montréal communities, the CAM wishes to continue this action on the ground, consistent with its desire to engage with society and listen to the needs of the community.
At the same time, CAM is entering a new phase that involves strongly encourating the philanthropic sector to choose to enhance its contributions to the arts. In this way, the CAM hopes to play a more active role in the philanthropic community, particularly with donors from Montréal’s cultural and diversity communities, and others who have never donated to the arts, to encourage them to contribute toward achieving its ambitious equity and representativeness goals.
To advance the arts, the number and value of donations must increase. Now is the time for the CAM to do its part.
- To aim for the development and strengthening of a culture of philanthropy within the Montreal arts community
- Define the philanthropic project and the distinctive signature of the Council
- To aim for the appropriation of a culture of philanthropy at all levels of the organization
- Ensure that philanthropic operations are integrated into the Council’s administrative processes and linked to government policies
2025 Target: $1.5 million cumulative donations
The CAM intends to play a leading role in the collective effort to fight the climate crisis. It is moving faster toward implementing ambitious, more accountable, equitable and sustainable practices. The CAM aims first to reduce its carbon footprint by reviewing its practices in six major areas: sustainable transportation, the digital economy, respectful, local and sustainable procurement, waste management, financing and human resources.
By acting as a catalyst in the community to support the eco-responsible transition, the CAM will provide greater support to cultural communities by developing tools, training and support, as well as financial support programs. The goal is to strengthen the capacity of all organizations to make this transition.
Together, we will help decarbonize the arts sector.
- Deploy the Council’s eco-responsible transition plan
- Encourage, support and recognize innovative initiatives related to ecoresponsibility
2025 Target: Integrate eco-responsible criteria into 100% of programs in line with the Plan climat Montréal vision (reduce GHG emissions by 55% by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050).
Influence and profile
With its website and many updated, enhanced and accessible platforms, the CAM must ensure that its programs and initiatives achieve a higher profile and reach the right targets. To open the door to artists or remote populations, the CAM must communicate more proactively, visibly and effectively.
- To inform, inspire and influence the Montreal arts community in support of the Council’s purpose, values and strategic priorities
- Increase awareness of the impact of the Council’s actions and initiatives
- Evaluate, correct and improve communications and public relations practices to ensure that programs are known and understood by current audiences
- Develop strategies and means to promote the discoverability of programs and access to new clienteles
- Develop a public relations and communications strategy to strengthen ties with Montreal’s elected officials
- Make the Montreal population aware of initiatives that can add value to their daily lives
Target 2025: Improve understanding of CAM’s mission and roles among its key stakeholders (existing and potential arts patrons, elected officials, partners)
Promote the value of the arts
The CAM’s commitment to the arts is tireless and unwavering. The importance of artists’ contribution to Montréal’s collective existence and distinctive signature needs to be better documented. The impact of artists on society and their rich diversity deserve more attention. Whether through its prestigious Grand Prix or any other recognition activity, the CAM must continue to lend weight to the exceptional work of artists.
- Promote the arts and their contribution to Montreal’s vitality in as many forums as possible
- To contribute to the enhancement of the value of the arts by developing strong, credible arguments aimed at different communities
- Make the Grand Prix the preferred recognition event for the Montreal arts community
- Recognize the advances and artists of the arts disciplines through awards and actions related to the Council’s strategic priorities
Target 2025: launch a barometer of various vital signs of arts and culture in Montreal
Labour market transformations and the challenge of attracting and retaining staff encourages CAM’s efforts to provide its employees with positive working conditions adapted to today’s realities. It wants to guarantee them a respectful and caring work environment where psychological health is no less important than physical health and where everyone can grow professionally and personally. The CAM wants to stand out by putting people at the centre of its organization.
- Increase and formally recognize the coaching expertise of staff
- Evaluate and adjust working practices and conditions with a view to retention and attractiveness
- Implement a process and tools for the integration and development of talent
- Prevent psychological health problems in the workplace by promoting a psychosocial safety climate
Target 2025: Be certified to the BNQ Healthy Enterprise standard – Prevention, promotion and organizational practices conducive to health and wellness in the workplace
To encourage top organizational performance and effectiveness, the CAM will review, analyze and refine its procedures and practices with an accent on innovation and creativity. It must better structure its technological tools to provide the data and information its needs for to make decisions and, ultimately, maximize its target audiences impact and support for the Montréal arts ecosystem.
- Measure the impact of all our programs, actions, initiatives and partnerships and adjust them
- Facilitate data initiatives by improving systems and promoting open access
- Refine our practices in the areas of equity, inclusive practices and diversity (governance, evaluation committees, team, constituencies)
- Implement a process to ensure knowledge transfer and retain organizational knowledge
- Promote the appropriation of digital work tools
- Ensure continuous improvement of the client experience with the Council
- Implement internal communication strategies and tools and promote good collaborative practices
- Implement and update the policies that govern the Council
- Ensure that the Council’s activities are communicated according to ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria
- Analyze, pursue and initiate partnerships with organizations in various sectors of activity to maximize the Council’s impact in line with its strategic priorities
2025 Target: Measure the Council’s impact in real time with reliable indicators, data and tools
The turmoil resulting from the pandemic has given way to global economic uncertainty. After a period of severe paralysis, the cultural community faces an unsure future. Its responsibility for guiding and supporting Montréal artists to a degree that meets their needs makes it a duty for CAM to explore all financial avenues at its disposal. Like any organization, it is determined to increase its impact despite the constraints sometimes imposed by budget capacities. In addition to relying on a relationship of trust with the municipal government and in consultation with the arts community, the CAM will endeavour to diversify its potential revenues through partnerships. It will also optimize rentals at the Maison du Conseil while developing and promoting a new philanthropic culture.
- Ensure that we have the means to support the arts community
- Maximize the Council’s various potential sources of revenue (philanthropy, partnerships and Council House)
- In partnership with the DMV, review the roles and responsibilities of CAM and other municipal services that serve the same clientele
2025 Target: Increase revenues to $25M (Agglomeration of Montreal: $24M in 2025 / Partnerships: $800K / Maison du CAM: $200K in additional revenues)
CAM’s 2022-2025 approach
With this new plan, the Council aims to evolve and become a more: