Arts Promotion Toolkit

Here are a few tips and tools to guide your arts promotion activities.

Read the Advocacy Primer

If you don't know where to start, read The ABC ’s of Advocacy. This 11-page resource provides useful advice on how to become a better advocate in the arts in Canada.

Be informed and prepared

You already have a unique field expertise, which has real value for decision makers. Draw a few success stories from it and use them to illustrate the value of your work with any key decision maker. Support these success stories with factual information from our Performing Arts Statistics or The Value of Presenting study.

Develop an ongoing relationship with your Member of Parliament

Developing relationships with Members of Parliament is not just an annual Arts Day activity. There are many opportunities to engage with your MP year round.
Find out how.

Know which decision makers you need to talk to

  1. Your own MP. If you don't know who she/he is, do a postal code search on the Parliament of Canada's website or on Get to know your MP and invite him/her to your venue, for a season launch or for a special performance, so that he/she can get to know the valuable work you do in the arts. If your MP happens to hold any of the functions that follow, it would be worth it to develop a particular relationship with him/her.
  2. The Minister of Canadian Heritage. Remember that the Minister is responsible for his department and for all its related agencies, such as the Canada Council for the Arts and the CBC.
  3. Opposition Party Critics in the area of Canadian Heritage. Opposition Party Critics are responsible for presenting party policies in a given area and commenting on those of the Government. If you are writing to the minister of Canadian Heritage, you should also consider whether your opinions would be of interest to Opposition Party Critics (chances are, they will).
  4. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (CHPC). The standing committees study matters referred to them by the House of Commons or may undertake studies on their own initiative. The bulk of Members’ parliamentary work is done in committee. There they study and amend bills, and examine important issues and departmental spending plans (known as the Estimates) in depth. Committee work requires Members to read background documents and meet experts in various fields, including lawyers, economists, special interest groups, business persons and senior government officials.
  5. The Standing Committee on Finance (FINA). Canadian Heritage is important, but Finance is more important within the government. This committee is authorized to consider and report on proposals regarding the budgetary policy of the government. As part of the pre-budget consultations, it receives briefs and listens to experts, in order to prepare a series of recommendations for the Chamber of Commons and the Minister of Finance.

Use your social networks

In a democracy, no arts promotion strategy is complete without including citizens: they are both voters and arts-goers. Use your social networks (online and in person) to engage dialogues on the benefits of arts participation and to share your point-of-views on public arts policies. Appeal to the citizens in your peers and be yourself engaged in your democracy.

Collaborate with others

Numbers are not everything, but they are important. Work in conjunction with your arts service organizations, and take part in national awareness-raising campaigns, such as Culture Days and I love Dance.

Other recommended links

Culture Days
Culture Days is a collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Getting involved in Culture Days is an effective way to promote the arts.
Efficient search engine to find out what MPs are saying in the House of Commons and in the media.

Arts Research Monitor
Database of research on the arts, indexed by theme.

The Arts Advocate Report

Blog and newsletter on federal and ontario arts advocacy.

Canada Council for the Arts
Arts Promotion kit with tips and strategies, studies and links, as well as a portrait of the arts in Canada.

Canadian Arts Coalition
Facts and key messages about the benefits of the arts, including these Arts Facts.

Canadian Conference for the Arts
Links to advocacy resources.

Business for the Arts
Businesses also ought to be part of arts promotion strategies. Business for the Arts provide a case for investment in the arts and several other resources.