Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Business for the Arts President and CEO Nichole Anderson were on hand to celebrate Ottawa’s success in securing the artsVest™ program. They were joined by Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Chair Dave Donaldson and Jean-Claude Des Rosiers, Président du Conseil d’administration, Le regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale Nationale as well as government funding agencies, local businesses and cultural organizations.

The program will offer free sponsorship training to help Ottawa’s local cultural organizations build mutually beneficial partnerships with the business community. Cultural organizations will also be invited to apply to artsVest for a total of $100,000 in matching incentive grants. When matched with sponsorship from the local business community, artsVest has the potential to flow more than $200,000 of investment into Ottawa’s cultural sector this year.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring the public, private and cultural sectors together with a common goal of enhancing Ottawa’s cultural offerings,” said Mayor Watson. “ And since these investments can be generated as soon as next year, Ottawa residents and visitors are the real winners here.”

According to Business for the Arts, Ottawa has the ingredients to be a success story with growing potential for business benefactors and sustainable, diverse arts, heritage and culture offerings. “The jury evaluating Ottawa’s application was really excited about the breadth and range of local cultural programs that could benefit from artsVest’s matching grants,” said Business for the Arts President Nichole Anderson. “Ottawa’s bilingual character is also attractive as it will allow artsVest to reach a greater Francophone population.”

A recent economic study reported that Ottawa-Gatineau’s cultural industry (non-profit and for-profit) represented approximately 4.1 per cent of GDP, totalling $1.98 billion. In 2010, attendance and participation in Ottawa’s local cultural activity totalled 4.1 million, and 21,861 volunteers provided 519,755 volunteer hours (valued at $9.1 million) to the local cultural sector.

Other cities selected to be part of the 2012 Ontario artsVest program include Windsor, North Bay, Midland and Elliot Lake.

artsVest is a program of Business for the Arts and delivered with funding from the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Canadian Heritage. Ottawa’s application was sponsored by the Council for the Arts in Ottawa, the Arts Ottawa East Arts Council and the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa.

For more information on the artsVest program, visit www.artsvest.com.