Friday, October 26, 2007

The Arts Sector

Measures key to providing sustainability and stability to the arts sector.

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Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, a non-profit coalition of arts organizations, promotes the lively existence and continued growth of the arts and cultural industries in Saskatchewan. Our vision is a province where arts and artists are supported and valued as essential to a complete and healthy society.

SAA works to strengthen, support and advance the arts through advocacy, policy development and proactive leadership. Since its establishment, SAA has been a prominent advocate on issues affecting artists and the arts, including public funding to the arts, provincial and federal arts policies, freedom of expression and artists' working conditions. SAA led the effort to ensure arts community participation in the make up of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and was the main proponent in establishment of the Status of the Artist Act (2002).


Saskatchewan’s arts and culture sector makes an indispensable contribution to our communities. The arts contribute substantially to the province’s well being – to our quality of life as well as our economic and social vitality. The arts are an important factor in attracting talented people, jobs, tourism and investment to our province, and are deeply involved with our people.

Our sector provides vital services, some of which cannot survive without government support. Government has an important role in creating an environment where the arts can flourish, and where content providers will be attracted to and ultimately enrich the province. The following measures are key to providing sustainability and stability to the arts sector.

1. Arts and Culture Policy
While the province has some important arts policies to guide decision-making, a pan-departmental policy grounded in sound principles and developed within the context of the arts sector is needed. Decisions about the arts and culture sector should create an environment where the arts can flourish, and where content providers will be attracted to and ultimately enrich the province. An arts policy should attend to the well being of the entire arts sector including the audience/consumer, avocational and professional artists, and producers.

Beyond guiding decision-making, the policy should convey to the public the vital role that arts and culture plays in our province.

Implementation of a pan-departmental arts and culture policy that provides principles and guidelines for government to support and develop the arts sector is critical to good planning. The policy must be proactive and recognize the fundamental value of all the arts, in all of their diversity. A visionary policy, which charges government to act, would help ensure that Saskatchewan arts and artists thrive into the future.

2. Arts Education
Arts education for all students in Saskatchewan is vital to having a well-educated population equipped with relevant knowledge and in particular the creative and critical thinking tools necessary for the future. Students educated to think creatively and critically are a foundation for our province’s success.

Saskatchewan does have an arts education program that is a core subject area. However, many students in Saskatchewan schools are not receiving instruction in this core area. Measures should be taken to ensure all students benefit from an arts education. Development of post-secondary programs will support the need for trained content providers and will enable students to remain in province while continuing training in their chosen profession.

3. Artist Equity
Artists are important to Saskatchewan's future and deserve to have the same protections and rights as other workers. In 2002, the Saskatchewan legislature enacted Status of the Artist Act that recognized, in principle, rights for artists. This year, Bill 68, the Status of the Artist Act, 2007 was introduced that would have provided real and substantial support for artists. Bill 68 did not pass through the Standing Committee on Human Services. Gaining rights and protections for artists are critical and must be advanced.

Saskatchewan Arts Alliance advocates that a full Artists Code including collective rights and standards be a high priority.

4. Cultural Industries
Following the Music Industry Review, similar studies should be completed on the remaining cultural industries. There should be: the development of tax credit programs for all cultural industries and the enhanced awareness of career opportunities in cultural industries.

5. Regional Development
Regions outside of Regina and Saskatoon, including the northern part of the province, must be assisted to develop arts and culture opportunities. Opportunities should arise from the local communities' interests.

6. Arts Funding
Government investment in the arts and, in particular, sufficient money dedicated to the Saskatchewan Arts Board and, through the lottery license agreement, to Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Culture, Recreation and Sport is critical. The Saskatchewan Arts Board provides support to the arts sector that in other sectors would be seen as investment in research and development. SaskCulture, a community-driven organization, provides developmental and ongoing support to a large community network of cultural organizations and activity throughout Saskatchewan.