Streaming uncharted waters
ArtsPond was originally founded as a grassroots entity in 2014 with the aim to become a multi-arts Charitable Venture Organization or Shared Charitable Platform. Envisioned as a means to reduce the economic precarity of vulnerable creators and producers in the arts, this objective was initiated in response to Jane Marsland’s landmark paper, Shared Platforms and Charitable Venture Organizations (Metcalf Foundation, 2013).
ArtsPond’s provisional charity status application to establish such a platform was rejected by Canada Revenue Agency in 2015. While a clear regulatory framework to permit these types of entities to operate does not yet exist, the actions of the Arts Working Group, a cross-disciplinary think-tank, helped to investigate the future of Charitable Venture Platforms and other alternative models of governance in the arts.
This effort led us to dive deeper into the essential source that drives us and to rethink the relevance of Charitable Venture Platforms as a viable response to the complex forces that continue to inhibit the vitality of the arts. This in turn led us to the embrace the evolving potential of social innovation and collective impact, a collaborative approach to addressing complex social issues that now infuses each of our multifaceted actions on-the-ground and in-the-cloud.
Incorporated as a non-profit in August 2016, the first public activity launched by ArtsPond in Winter 2017 was the national digital needs survey, Managing Creativity in a Digital World. The results of this survey helped inform presentations of the inaugural Digital Arts Services Symposium in Fall 2017 and Winter 2019. It also provided an evidence-base guiding the incubation of Artse United, an emerging digital arts services platform, and DigitalASO, a collective impact effort empowering digital transformation of arts services through digital literacy research, education, platform- and alliance-building.
Beyond the digital world, Groundstory launched in Fall 2017 as a collective impact response to the rapid gentrification of Ontario’s traditional artist enclaves from Toronto’s Parkdale/West Queen West to Hamilton’s James Street North. Phase 1 activities feature a comprehensive research agenda including an international literature review, province-wide surveys, regional focus groups and cross-sectoral advisory sessions.
Like the first rains to fall upon dry ground, our story is constantly evolving and shifting course to salve parched roots and kin. As our streams begin to deepen and pool, we are striving to incubate a new kind of community bolstering the potential of diverse artistic creativity to flow and promote prosperity for all.
Join us and share the pondory.