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Facility Needs Assessment Update Survey

January 27, 201227 January 2012

Cultural facilities / infrastructure

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This survey, conducted in the fall of 2009, covers topics such as arts organizations’ access to facilities, facility ownership structure, age, condition, need for upgrades, planned capital expenditures, and knowledge of capital financing options. The survey updates a similar 2006 survey about the situation of arts facilities in Ontario. The 2009 survey was completed by 105 small, mid-sized and large visual, performing arts and multidisciplinary organizations. The overall survey results have a margin of error of 5.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Among responding arts organizations, most (70%) lease at least one facility, and nearly one-half (44%) own at least one facility. Almost three in ten arts organizations (29%) are located in designated heritage buildings, while over one-half of the respondents (54%) are in facilities that are 70 years old or more.

Regarding current access to facilities, 72% of organizations reported insufficient access to some type of space, including 59% with insufficient access to storage or service facilities, 39% with insufficient access to rehearsal or production spaces, 38% with insufficient access to public presentation spaces, and 30% with insufficient access to administrative facilities. Insufficient access to facilities is higher outside of Toronto than in the city. Insufficient access is more acute among visual, media arts and multidisciplinary organizations than performing arts organizations.

Given this relative lack of access to spaces, it is not surprising that 74% of arts organizations indicated that they plan at least one capital expenditure in the next three years. Most of these planned expenditures involve improvements to existing facilities, although some organizations do plan to build or purchase a new facility. Expenditures are most commonly planned for specialized technical equipment, building renovations, and building system upgrades. Anticipated funding sources include fundraising, the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and a range of other sources. About one-quarter of respondents (27%) have a capital reserve fund.

Respondents that are planning at least one capital expenditure believe that the spending will help them achieve a range of goals, including a higher quality of presentation, improved conditions for staff, increased attendance, increased revenues, more programming, increased tourism, and increased employment. Many of the planned capital expenditures (44%) are part of a municipal cultural plan, and 40% will “help move forward a larger revitalization project”.

ArtsBuild Ontario is currently planning a facilities portal, which is intended to be “a dynamic and continually updated inventory of the facilities used and needed by Ontario’s non-profit arts organizations”.

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