Advocacy and Community Development

Advocacy and community development has been a focus for the Ottawa Arts Council since it’s inception in 1982. We believe in the social and economic importance of a strong local cultural sector. Often working in collaboration with partners we have consulted, represented, educated and coordinated actions at times of crisis and times of opportunity. In addition to advocating to the public and business community, the Ottawa Arts Council monitors developments of arts policy at all levels of government and is especially diligent during preparation for elections and over the course of campaigns.

Current and Ongoing Projects


Ottawa Cultural Alliance

  • The Ottawa Cultural Alliance receives $300,000 in the City Budget for the development of priority items.
  • The Ottawa Cultural Alliance produced video of Ottawa Business leaders expressing the importance of the arts in the city.

Rideau High Community Hub

  • The Council is a core partner in the Rideau High Community Hub.
  • Led by the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre and the Odawa Native Friendship Circle, there are currently 32 groups who have expressed interest in having space in the hub.
  • The Council is a voice for the cultural community.


Launch of the Arms-Length Cultural Development Feasibility Study by the Ottawa Cultural Alliance

  • The study is an independent, community-driven, community-wide initiative to assess the current state of Ottawa’s cultural sector, and identify and evaluate the practicality and viability of potential models and/or solutions for more effective cultural sector advancement.


  • The Council worked with two partners, as stewards, to distribute $239,000 to culturally diverse projects in Ottawa as part of the celebrations. Over 100 eligible applications were received, resulting in
    14 successful projects funded.

Workshop Wednesdays

  • In response to community demand for relevant and dynamic professional development, Workshop Wednesdays is established, in partnership with the Arts Network Ottawa.


The Cultural Sustainability Project

  • 1 year project
  • Researching challenges and strengths within our community

City Budget 2017 Advocacy

  • The Ottawa Arts Council and Arts Network Ottawa jointly presented to the Community and Protective Service Committee


Ottawa Cultural Alliance

  • The Ottawa Cultural Alliance (OCA) works collaboratively to strategically address shared opportunities and challenges to further advance the sector’s success. 
  • The Alliance comprises umbrella organizations that each serve to voice the needs, concerns and opportunities of their members; and when aligned, come together with a view to serving the City’s cultural community as a whole.
  • Other Alliance members include: Arts Network Ottawa, Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa, Heritage Ottawa, Ottawa Festivals and Ottawa Museum Network.


Creative Capital Exchange (CCE)

  • 2 year project
  • Designed to strengthen the Ottawa arts community by identifying areas where organizations face challenges, and create innovative initiatives that address those issues.


Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Steering Committee

  • The Council is a member of the Steering Committee, which manages the $40M Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment.

Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture (PDF - 1.6MB)

  • 3 year plan
  • The Council participated as a Cultural Service Organization Collaborator
  • The approval of a renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture by the City of Ottawa provides a blueprint that includes strategies for action until 2018.
  • The Plan respects the priorities of hundreds of collaborators and participants who provided their input and insights.
  • To ensure that we remain on track, we need to keep future conversations current, responsive and reflective of the Recommended Actions and the stated Investment Plan.