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.
- Increase recognition, representativeness and support for Indigenous (First Nations), Métis and Inuit artists within CAM and within the Montréal arts landscape
- Revise the CAM’s equity policy by ensuring better statistical identification and achievement of commitments in support of priority clients requiring equity and affirmative action measures, particularly artists who belong to visible ethnocultural minorities, are deaf or living with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, Anglophone minority artists or artists not yet receiving support or whose artistic practice is considered a “minority” practice.
- Ensure that all CAM authorities (teams, committees and Board of Directors) represent diversity and continue to act as a catalyst for change with the different communities through support mechanisms, policies and positions or research work
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.
- Analyze and review CAM programs to ensure the consistent advancement of artist and arts organization within its programs and initiatives
- Maintain support for arts organizations and increase funding for organizations that achieve distinction in relation to CAM’s objectives, while offering such support to more organizations
- Contribute to ensuring the affordability and preservation of artist studios with municipal partners and continue to increase the capacity and innovation of artistic communities in response to cultural property issues
- Analyze, pursue and implement partnerships with organizations in various sectors of activity to maximize CAM’s impact in relation to its strategic priorities
- Advance lobbying efforts to promote a strong and lasting social safety net for artists and cultural workers
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.
- Allow artistic collectives and organizations to anchor themselves in their environment, where they are able to create or disseminate their work
- Enrich the proximity of local cultural production for Montréal residents and enable artists to forge strong ties with different communities
- Develop a local residency program (in the Montréal urban area)
- Recognize and support projects that strengthen local initiatives
- Encourage productive artistic encounters with different sectors of activity such as education, health, community action or the social economy
Provincially and nationally
- Maintain ties with regional cultural players to maintain a deep understanding of cultural issues within a broader territorial perspective
- Implement projects that have a decisive impact on the careers of artists in partnership with various municipalities, mainly in the cities that make up the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal.
- Increase collaboration with other arts councils to maximize the impact of best practices and to strengthen a shared common discourse in support of the arts
- Strengthen intercultural dialogue and foster exchanges of innovative artistic practices in various territories
- Encourage closer ties with countries associated with Montréal’s various diaspora communities
- Foster research and creation among Montréal’s arts communities
- Implement and encourage an environmentally responsible approach to international exchanges
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.
- Continue to develop and strengthen a philanthropic culture within the Montréal arts community
- Actively contribute to greater openness in the philanthropic sector to obtain more donations to the arts and culture sector
- Develop the CAM’s philanthropic culture and vision and include organizational deployment of its philanthropic goals with its equity and representativeness impact priorities
The Ecoresponsible transition
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 CAM’s eco-responsible transition plan
- Measure the CAM’s carbon footprint generated by its regular and event activities to establish clear targets and aim to achieve the objectives of the City of Montréal’s 2020-2030 climate plan
- In collaboration with its partners and communities, enhance support and guidance programs and tools enabling the cultural sector to acquire the capacity and resources adapted to its human-centred realities needed for its eco-responsible transition
- Raise awareness and equip staff, evaluation committee members and the board of directors in relation to environmentally responsible practices
- Gradually incorporate the eco-responsible transition concepts into program evaluation criteria and accountability reporting
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.
- Inform Montréal’s arts communities about the Conseil’s purpose, values and strategic priorities, and inspire and influence them
- Evaluate, review and improve current communications and public relations practices to ensure that all CAM programs are familiar to existing clienteles
- Develop and implement communication strategies and tools to promote the discovery of CAM programs and access to new clienteles
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.
- Help enhance the value of the arts in the daily lives of Montréalers through strong, credible and relevant arguments
- Continue the CAM’s signature recognition event, the Grand Prix, while improving the experience and impact
- Maximize the impact and promote various CAM recognition initiatives in a coordinated, motivational effort with partners and artistic communities
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.
- Overhaul the organization of work to include new approaches to collaboration and set value on both contributions and collective intelligence.
- Build an enviable brand as an employer committed to identifying promising and diverse talent, guiding their development and supporting and rewarding them with competitive working conditions.
- Continue work on establishing the Jardin collectif to foster healthy interpersonal work relationships adapted to the needs of individuals.
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.
- Improve clientele service efficiency and provide the best possible experience for artists and arts organizations throughout their relationship with the CAM.
- Develop data structuring, valuation and analysis initiatives, as well as resources and skills to better assess, understand and publicize CAM’s impact.
- Implement and optimize mechanisms and procedures that ensure an optimal knowledge transfer and retain organizational knowledge.
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 the CAM has the means to support the artistic communities of Montréal while maintaining its agility and dynamic action.
- Maximize the various sources of potential CAM revenues through partnerships, optimize use of Maison du Conseil and deploy new philanthropic initiatives.
CAM’s 2022-2025 approach
Avec ce nouveau plan, le Conseil souhaite évoluer et devenir une organisation plus :