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Statement by the Executive Director of Arts Network Ottawa to Clarify In-Kind Services and When Potential Facility Fees May Apply to Related Funding Opportunities

We have received questions that require clarification related to the in-kind services provided free of charge by the Shenkman Arts Centre and potential costs for projects that are applying for the Arts Network Ottawa’s ARTicipate Grant Program.

These potential costs vary based on project scope and the spaces selected by the artist, and could include required facility fees, liability insurance or SOCAN license fees to feature music.

We apologize for the frustration caused by this current lack of clarity in our materials. We are updating our materials and will provide new information by April 22nd, in advance of a new application deadline that we have added for the ARTicipate Endowment Fund Grant Program on May 14th.

Changing the April 9th ARTicipate Grant Program deadline was considered. Our respect for the many applicants who are relying on the current timeline for project funding led to our decision to honour our commitment to have responses to applicants by April 30th, for projects to start the first week of May. A delay of this deadline would have been difficult for the many applicants who have booked artists and other collaborators for their projects, as well as the already complex scheduling considerations that must comply with COVID public health and safety guidelines.

Our standard practice is to provide personalized, one-on-one service with applicants to understand the artist’s proposed project, and to outline the application steps. This is being done virtually during COVID health and safety restrictions.

Applicants liaise with Shenkman Arts Centre staff to walk through their project requirements and confirm facility and service requirements. The Shenkman Arts Centre provides a range of service and technical options for the artist’s consideration. Costs for technicians, other part-time staff, SOCAN and some other fees are mandatory. A detailed estimate of costs is provided with the booking confirmation. There is no fee to get this booking confirmation for this application.

We understand that it is crucial to know these details ahead of time to prepare an informed proposal. Arts Network Ottawa staff will ensure that moving forward applicants are fully briefed and that this information is clearly stated and easier to follow and understand.

Arts Network Ottawa is committed to the principles of accountability, integrity and transparency – we sincerely regret this lack of clarity and thank members of the arts community for bringing this forward. We are listening and we understand the concerns, and we are taking immediate action to ensure we respond to the questions raised and that the overall application process is clearly explained.

As COVID endures, the arts community has seen the first doors to close and the last to open. We are working closely with the Shenkman Arts Centre team to provide extra support to artists. In-kind services such as venue rental fees and equipment are free of charge for arts projects that are funded by this grants program.

And this year we increased our project grants from $2,500 to up to $10,000 in direct response to the hardship people are experiencing during the pandemic. Together with the Shenkman Arts Centre team, we are providing opportunities for artists to work in professional spaces through this devastating COVID 3rd wave.

Cassandra Olsthoorn

Executive Director, Arts Network Ottawa