Home Arts & Life On the Record – Ep.4 – Can Toronto artists leverage the pandemic to make the industry more liveable?

On the Record – Ep.4 – Can Toronto artists leverage the pandemic to make the industry more liveable?

Record player, cell tower and waiting list exhibit

Graphic by Masih K

When it comes to pandemic job loss, Canada’s arts industry was the hardest hit. Gallery closures, theatre shutdowns and limited work opportunities marked a turning point for the art scene. About 114, 400 artists lost their jobs in 2020. That’s a quarter of all the employees in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

The damage done by widespread unemployment still lingers almost two years later. A survey by ArtSCAPE reported that artists worry about having the money to pay rent and put food on the table. With an average monthly income of $2,000, artists need financial support to continue working in Toronto. Arts organizations work overtime to make sure that the arts community can keep enriching the lives of Toronto residents without taking such an excessive financial and emotional strain.

In this episode of On the Record, we speak to artists, arts workers and a mental health counsellor about the changing landscape of art in Toronto.

Key points

4:04 Emerging artists struggle to start careers mid-pandemic

9:00 How Artscape is helping artists find resources

11:23 Basic guaranteed income for artists

13:03  Mental health effects of the  pandemic on artists

17:43 Building momentum with artist advocacy

Who we heard from in order of appearance

Amrita Chopra, artist who created The Waiting List installation

Deloris Chen, painter and illustrator

Hibah Mian, independent curator and founder of The Open Gallery

Claire Hopkinson, director and CEO of Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation

Thea Fitz-James, program manager of ArtsUNITE

Charmaine Johnson, career and mental health counsellor

Related Stories

The Waiting List invites artists to explore how pandemic put their careers on hold

Toronto artists adapt to virtual music scene

Music lovers anticipate return of in-person live shows

Image Credits

The Open Gallery

See you next week, for another episode of On the Record.

Naama Weingarten
Masih K

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