Ottawa’s artists delight us and make our city a great place to live. But the ups and downs of the profession often lead to few resources at the end of their careers. That’s why we created PAL Ottawa: a vital resource providing senior arts workers with a community support system and much-needed solutions for affordable live-work spaces.
According to the 2016 census, 5,390 artists work in Ottawa plus 20,000+ workers in the cultural sector. Most Ottawa artists are in part-time situations with average income of $18,247. This community reflects a diverse population of ethnically diverse, LGBTQ, disabled, francophone and indigenous people. PAL serves those in vulnerable situations.
There is a growing community of aging arts workers, many of whom have been self-employed on below-average incomes and work past the age of 65, often isolated lacking a network of colleagues, family, and friends to support them. Many work alone and/or don’t have pensions to carry them through the later years.
Affordable places to work and live are significant issues. Ottawa has over 10,000 households on housing wait lists, 20% of them seniors.