London, Ontario

The London Arts Council

Establishment of the London Arts Council was a proposal from the Arts Advisory Committee of

the City of London, Ontario in 1994. Committee members Doug Bale, Stephen Joy and Mary

Kernohan called a public meeting on June 30th of 1994 which was attended by over 70

individuals representing 40 arts organizations in the city, including such groups as the Forest City

Gallery, Gerald Fagan Singers, the Grand Theater, Canadian Poetry Association, London

Community Players et al.  A 12 member Steering Committee was elected to pursue the specifics

of establishing an arts council in London. Members of the Steering Committee included Stephen

Joy, Rick Verrette, Arlene Kennedy, Wayne Ray, Catherine Inculet, Gerald Fagan, Dan Ebbs,

Beth Stewart, Joe Swan, Barry Fair, and Karen Shelstad. The phrase, All the arts, all the time,

was established by Wayne Ray and used for many years.

The Steering Committee met weekly throughout the year to develop a mission statement

and initial structure. They were also responsible for setting up a Board of Directors structure

representing all sectors and branches of the arts. In September 1994, the report was presented at a

second public meeting where 7 Board members were elected and a Mission Statement was

established. It stated: The London Arts Council is committed to fostering an environment in

which all levels of the arts can flourish, enhancing the quality of life and adding to the vitality of

the community, by promoting awareness of the arts in all forms and encouraging the active

pursuit of artistic excellence. Several official Goals were established, some of which state: To

foster and facilitate linkages among artists and related organizations and educational institutions

in the areas of literary, performing, visual and heritage arts; To enhance awareness and

appreciation of the arts in London among all the sectors of the community and beyond; To serve

as a source of information for local artists and arts organizations . . .; To promote and study in all

artistic disciplines embracing their cultural diversity; and; To establish a relationship with

(London) City Hall as advisors on all arts related activities.

On July 28th 1995, the London Arts Council received it's Letters Patent as an Ontario

Not-For-Profit organization. Signing authority for the Letters Patent were B.O.D. members Karen

Shelstad, Rick Verrette and Bernita Kiefte.  In October of the same year, a regular quarterly LAC

Newsletter began. In November, the first Gathering of the Arts was held at the London Regional

Children's Museum where a logo contest was announced with a resulting 11 finalists. Amy

Thibeault was the winner. $3000 in seed money was received from the London Community

Foundation that year. The City of London Arts Directory became a project of the LAC Literary

Committee in the late 1990's and was produced by Stephen Joy and Wayne Ray for 5 years. It

was discontinued when the LAC website was established and the information became the

foundation for the website. Two other pamphlets were produced by the Literary Committee and

only ran for three years: Public Art in London, Ontario & South Western Ontario Publishers


In October 1999 the Ontario Trillium Foundation presented a grant of $96,100 over a

three year period allowing LAC to hire staff and open an office in the Covent Garden Market on

Market Lane. One year later in July 2000 the London Arts Council was approached by the City of

London to be responsible for the administration of it's CAIP (Community Arts Investment

Program) Category 2 Grants, amounting to a distribution of $500,000 per year. The Arts Grants

continue over the next two decades. Currently LAC is under the umbrella of Heritage London

and its office has moved to a permanent location on the first floor of the London Central Library.


Archives collection of Cathy Inculet LAC Lawyer

Archives collection of Wayne Ray (York University) Literary Committee Chair London Arts


LAC Newsletter V1N1 December 1995

Arts Directories, City of London 1996-2002

History of the London Arts Council. Beth Stewart, September 09 2000

LAC Mission Statement brochure 2001

Original document for Letters Patent, Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Community Relations

28 July 1995 # 1128519