Peterborough Area Arts Organizations Need Help

Peterborough Musicfest is proud to partner with the Peterborough Performing Arts Recovery Alliance, which is a member-led coalition representing 13 arts organizations and live performance venues in Peterborough and the surrounding region. Our members include charitable organizations and private enterprises[1]  who have joined forces to speak with one voice because we are deeply concerned about the future of the performing arts in Peterborough-Kawartha.

Thus far, financial aid programs rolled out by various levels of government have helped our members a great deal but as we close in on nine months without meaningful revenue, many of our members are in a desperate financial situation. Without immediate relief, beloved venues and arts organizations are facing permanent closure.

Though our members all have different urgent needs, we are united in needing stability and support to survive this crisis and keep the lights on. In these volatile times, we need stable, comprehensive, multi-year funding measures, which might also include rent and tax relief, wage subsidies, operating support, PPE funding, and subsidies for reopening with smaller audiences.

With so many sectors in peril, why should anyone care about the survival of arts organizations and performance venues? The answer is straightforward. Direct support for our organizations equals support for the communities that rely on us, and the innumerable businesses—hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and so many more—that depend on us for their success. The performing arts bring vitality, health, and wellness benefits, and our members generate an outsized economic impact on the city and region.

  • Peterborough Musicfest draws some 140,000 people to its free-admission concerts every summer with a minimum economic impact on the city and region of $5 million.
  • For 4th Line Theatre, its impact is nearly $4 million.
  • Our venues are crucial for travel, tourism, hospitality, and sports, not just the performing arts. Our presence is essential to local tourism, making it possible to hold conferences, sports tourism, and business events in the region. Indeed, the Director of Tourism is working alongside us to support our recovery and ensure that our message is shared with advocacy agencies like TIAO and TIAC.

The loss of venues and arts organizations would have a profoundly negative impact on our business community, on tax revenue, and on our reputation as a desirable place to visit, live, work, and invest. It would take years, if not decades, for Peterborough and the region to recover socially and economically from the gap left by our closure.

The Alliance’s case is simple: It will be far more affordable to help us keep the lights on now, rather than attempt to revive and rebuild arts infrastructure that has taken decades to build up.

We know pandemic fatigue is real. We all feel it. Even though the situation we’ve just painted is grim, we also know this community has a tremendous amount of grit and heart. We will get through this, if we stay committed to one another and work together to see better days.

If you have the means to help, we invite you to voice your concern to your government representatives. We also ask that you make a direct donation to the organization(s) of your choosing or via the Electric City Culture Council (EC3) administered  Peterborough Arts Alive Fund  HERE. Every single dollar helps.

To that end, we again say, THANK YOU, to Peterborough Musicfest’s generous and loyal sponsors. You make what we do possible, always.

Thank you also to everyone who offers us words of encouragement via social media and other means. Your kindness really gives us a lift, which is needed now more than ever.

[1] The Peterborough Performing Arts Recovery Alliance includes 4th Line Theatre, Electric City Culture Council, Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, New Stages Theatre Company, Peterborough Memorial Centre, Peterborough Musicfest, Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, Peterborough Theatre Guild, Public Energy Performing Arts, Showplace Performance Centre, St. James Players, The Theatre on King, and The Venue. Emily Martin, GM of Showplace, has been involved with Peterborough and the Kawarthas Mayor’s and Warden’s Task Force since its inception, bringing the concerns of our collective voice to the municipal level.