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Trends Among Recipients of the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, 2003-2012

January 27, 201627 January 2016

Finances and attendance of arts organizations

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This article highlights the financial situation of performing arts presenters between 2003-04 and 2011-12 based on aggregated data from 531 presenters receiving federal funding through the Canada Arts Presentation Fund. For the 531 presenters as a group, private sector revenues accounted for a larger proportion of revenues (40%) than earned revenues (36%) and public sector funding (24%) in 2011-12.

Private sector revenues were highest for the organizations with the highest revenues (43% for the six recipients with revenues averaging $12 million). There was no consistent pattern in earned revenues, although the 60 presenters with the second-highest average revenues ($2 million) had the highest proportion of earned revenues (50%). As a proportion of total revenues, public sector revenues were much higher for the lowest budget organizations (46% for the 228 presenters with revenues averaging $100,000) than for the highest revenue organizations (22% for the six recipients with revenues averaging $12 million).

In terms of 2011-12 expenses, presentation costs represented the largest share (38%), followed by promotion, marketing, and audience development (21%), venue costs (18%), administration (9%), and other expenses (12%). Artist fees represented about 27% of total expenses, with nearly $3 in every $4 in fees going to Canadian artists (72%). Administration costs were much higher for lower budget presenters (16% in the two smallest revenue groups) than for the highest revenue organizations (8%).

Overall revenues grew significantly over the eight-year period, from just under $300 million in 2003-04 to $522 million in 2011-12. (These figures have not been adjusted for inflation.)  Despite the growth in revenues, 2011-12 was the only year where the presenters reported a collective deficit.

The article cautions that attendance data may be less reliable than financial data, because presenters’ reported attendance figures “cannot be verified in the same way as audited financial statements”. That being said, total attendance at the 531 presenters is estimated at “more than 20 million attendees per year” (including both free and paid attendance).

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