Managing Creativity in a Digital World

EXTENDED DEADLINE:  April 14, 2016 at 5 PM (EST)

The time has come for the small arts sector to band together to produce purpose-built digital solutions designed by, and for, artists.

I am lost in a quagmire of inefficient information systems that are at times decades old.  I can't afford to purchase the tools that are currently available, and yet I am also burnt out from constantly reinventing the wheel in Excel. I am increasingly unable to focus on what is important. The arts need accessible, affordable information systems now! - Arts Manager, Toronto

The arts are lagging in the design of responsive digital tools to help manage and communicate the unique realities and contributions of small creators in all disciplines across Canada.

While many digital solutions are available (i.e., Sumac, Salesforce, Wild Apricot, CiviCRM, Canadian Arts Data, DataArts, Tableau), for the most part these tools are only pertinent or accessible to large, established organizations. Too often, small and emerging creators must rely on a hodge-podge of self-made/DIY solutions (i.e., Excel and Word) that are increasingly unsuited to managing creativity in our contemporary digital world.

The following survey invites small arts non-profits, creators, producers, curators, presenters, and arts professionals to help prioritize the new digital tools that should be provided, and to share testimonials to demonstrate to funders that the sector widely endorses the need for new solutions like Element:e.


What is Element:e?

Element:e is the most cost-effective and efficient way to have the greatest impact for independent producing-artists / artist-producers. - Performing Artist, Toronto

Element:e is a proposed arts management and impact reporting platform in the cloud for small creators and producers in all arts and culture disciplines across Canada. The goals of Element:e are to enhance the capacity and economic vitality of small creators by:

  1. EMPOWERING ARTISTS to devote more time on creativity and less on administration
  2. ENABLING ADMINISTRATORS to be more efficient, grow revenues, and enact better, evidence-based decisions
  3. EDUCATING AUDIENCES to be more aware of, and engaged by, the creativity of artists of today and tomorrow
  4. ENCOURAGING ADVOCATES to identify decisive insights that strengthen public policies and communicate the profound contributions of Canadian arts and culture in a global society.

Pending confirmation of funding, Element:e will be structured as a mobile-first, cloud-driven, low-cost, subscription-based platform, as well as an open source, open data (opt-in) project for custom implementation and analysis industry-wide.

Element:e will integrate administration, marketing, financial and statistical intelligence functions into a cohesive, multi-channel platform geared to managing, analyzing and communicating the "elemental" realities of small and low-income creators in urban, rural and remote regions across Canada.

The platform will prioritize supporting the needs of individual creators with annual incomes under $35,000, and organizations with annual budgets under $200,000. The initial stages will focus on the needs of the performing and literary arts in Ontario, followed by the visual and media arts and other disciplines across Canada as the project evolves.

The proposed timeline for Element:e is to launch a functional beta within three years, by 2019/20. Year 1 will focus on the outlining of a preliminary prototype based on priorities set out through sector consultations. Year 2 will build and test an alpha solution in selected communities. A beta launch will follow with wide release in Year 3. Development of the solution will continue thereafter to respond to community needs.


Founding Partners


  BeMused NetworkTheatre Ontario



The full survey will take between 20 to 30 minutes to complete. The majority of the questions are optional, and you may come back later if you can't finish it all in one sitting.

There are 28 questions in this survey.