Ontario Arts Council celebrates big 5 – 0

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Break out the champagne! The Ontario Arts Council is turning 50.

In a news release, the council said its establishing legislation was given final reading in the Ontario Legislature on this day in 1963, setting up an arts funding body to foster the creation and production of art for the benefit of all Ontarians.

“What started as an idea from a small group of committed volunteers has grown to support a province-wide arts infrastructure that not only contributes to our quality of life but also provides crucial economic benefits,” said OAC chair Martha Durdin in the release.

Last year, the council funded 1,681 artists and 1,125 organizations in support of the creation of more than 12,000 new artistic works.

The OAC assists writers, storytellers and spoken-word artists through its Literature programs, and encourages the development, publication and presentation of new works of literary significance in the province.

Its publishing programs help book publishers develop, print, promote and distribute new literary work, and support magazines that showcase Canadian writers and provide critical commentary on arts and culture. In addition, its Literature Office funds festivals and reading series that present the work of Ontario’s literary writers and publishers.

In coming months, many OAC funding recipients across the province will be marking the birthday with special activities.