Tuesday, July 10, 2007

SAA Correspondence to Premier Calvert

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April 5, 2007

Hon. Lorne Calvert
Premier of Saskatchewan
Room 226, Legislative Building
Regina, SK S4S 0B3

Dear Premier Calvert:

Re: 2007 – 08 Budget

We thought that your government recognized the value of the arts sector, and understood the demands it faced in terms of both increased costs and increased expectations to meet your own government's priorities. You and your Ministers often point to the vitality of the arts community as an attraction to bring people home, one of your priorities, and declared this year to be "a celebration of the arts and music". Yet, although there are modest increases in some areas, none are substantial enough to address the long-term pressures facing the arts sector let alone to provide for sustainable development.

The Saskatchewan Arts Board allocation is far short of its needs (about 10% of its new money will be earmarked to address this year’s collective agreement and pay equity for its staff). We estimate that an additional $3 million base funding is needed to maintain the status quo and address a few new pressures. Right now, Saskatchewan ranks 7th in the provinces for per capita funding of the arts (Stats Canada).

The Cultural Industries Development Council is still suffering from cuts to its funding that occurred in 2004, and Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation funding is so limited it is rapidly losing ground in its efforts to save our heritage.

We see the 2007 - 08 Budget as a missed opportunity for you to address the long-term pressures facing the arts sector, particularly as your government's expectations for the sector grow. We fear that the failure to invest the needed funds indicates a disregard for the importance of the sector, especially as this year saw a "spending" budget.

With respect Premier, we are writing to ask you why you chose to ignore the dire situation the arts sector is in by failing to provide the funds necessary to help us do what we do best, which is provide world class arts to the people of our province.

Sincerely,
SAA Board of Directors

cc:
Hon. Glenn Hagel, Minister, CYR
Ms. Barbara MacLean, Deputy Minister, CYR
Ms. Dawn Martin, Executive Director, Culture and Heritage, CYR
Mr. Jeremy Morgan, Executive Director, Sask. Arts Board
Ms. Rose Gilks, General Manager, SaskCulture
Dr. William Brennan, Chair, Sask. Heritage Foundation
SAA Membership

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SAA Board of Directors
Skip Kutz, President, Musician
Kim Houghtaling, Vice President, Director/Curator, Art Gallery of Swift Current
Jill Reid, Secretary, Executive Director, Dance Saskatchewan
Cynthia Dyck, Treasurer, Actor, Arts Administrator The Refinery
Alexandra Badzak, Head of Public and Professional Programs, Mendel Art Gallery
Bill Boyle, Screenwriter, Director, Producer
Don Kerr, Writer
Brenda Sherring, Executive Director, Museums Association of Saskatchewan
Amy Thibodeau, Communications Officer, MacKenzie Art Gallery