The Canada Council for the Arts and Sun Life Financial have announced a new arts initiative to support efforts to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada. Starting in April 2016, the Canada Council’s new initiative will support arts organizations that wish to provide free access to refugees to a performance, exhibition or arts event in their communities.
For 2016-17, the Canada Council is committing $150,000 to support the arts initiative. This is new money added to the existing granting activities of the Council. Sun Life Financial will contribute $50,000 through its Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy Branch.
The announcement was made on December 11 by Canada Council CEO Simon Brault and Isabelle Hudon, executive chair of Sun Life Financial, Quebec and Canada Council Board Member at Montreal’s Théâtre d’aujourd’hui, in the presence of Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly.
“We know the welcome and integration of refugees is a highly complex and multifaceted process, and this initiative is one modest piece of much broader collective and national efforts," Brault said. "We also know that arts and culture can be a refuge, a celebration of diversity, and source of inspiration and connection. Our message on behalf of the arts community to newcomers is ‘welcome, we are so happy to have you in our communities, we welcome you to our spaces, performances and events when you are ready.’"
Further details will be available in March 2016 for arts organizations who are interested in getting involved.