Port Hope Council – Critical Mass is Good Value for the Money

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland

The Port Hope community has received good value for its $50,000 investment in Critical Mass Art, Program Director Debbie Beattie told council Tuesday.

This works out to $25,000 through a pilot funding agreement in 2023 and the same amount in 2024. This amount makes up 15% of their annual budget, Beattie said, and the support of the municipality was key in securing Federal and provincial grants as well.

Critical Mass works to make the community a better place for all through advocating art experiences that open hearts and minds to the power of art.

I have been involved in Critical Mass for 20 years, and the municipality is our largest champion and advocate,” Beattie said.

The Parks, Recreation and Culture Department are our best friends.”

She itemized the benefit the community got from their work in 2023, starting with the $1,274,828 in visitor spending locally. Their 26 special events engaged 13,675 residents and visitors, and – thanks to a project carried out in partnership with Beyond The Blue Box – they diverted 500 lb. of material from the landfill. They gained 194 new members, which doubled their membership.

Critical Mass occupies the little train-station building at the end of Lent’s Lane, and its gradual restoration is another of their on-going projects.

Their 2024 calendar starts with the May 11 second annual Goose Ball, goes on to a variety of summer activities, and winds up the year with the Pumpkin Parade and Candlelight Festival.

Councillor Vicki Mink pointed out that a number of municipal residents don’t think the municipality should be making community grants at all. Should that happen, Mink asked, how would that affect Critical Mass?

Gravely,” Beattie said.

I would recommend look at at having a budget line for supporting arts and culture in this community – however you are able to work that into the budget, it’s necessary, something the community needs.”

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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