Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SAA Bulletin

July 2008

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In this issue…
    Summer Hours
    SAA Annual General Meeting
    Staffing at Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport
    2008 Arts Congress: Valuing The Arts
    Congress Sponsors
    SAA Board of Directors


SUMMER HOURS
The SAA office will be closed from July 28th to August 13th.

SAA ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Everyone is welcome to attend SAA's AGM on Saturday, September 20th in Regina. If you are interested, or know of someone who is interested in serving as a director, please forward the names to:
Nominations Committee
Saskatchewan Arts Alliance
205A 2314-11 Ave.
Regina, Sk. S4P 0K1
Email: info@artsalliance.sk.ca
Phone: 780-9820

STAFFING AT TOURISM, PARKS, CULTURE, AND SPORT
There's new staff and assignments at the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport. Scott Langen has been appointed Assistant Deputy Minister, a newly-formed position. Langen was Executive Director of the Sask. Science Centre. Susan Hetu has been appointed Executive Director of Culture and Heritage. Hetu had been acting in that position. The Cultural Policy Branch has a new Senior Policy Analyst, Shaun Augustin who moved to TPCS from the Ministry of Social Services.

2008 ARTS CONGRESS: VALUING THE ARTS
The 2008 Arts Congress: Valuing the Arts was held on May 2nd and 3rd at Wascana Centre in Regina. Called "one of the best yet", the Congress attracted over 100 delegates and speakers. Jeannie Mah kicked off the Congress with her Story From the Art, a reflection on Regina, its changing architecture and her art. Stories From the Art also featured artists Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot, Jason Plumb, Connie Gault, Johanna Bundon and Mark Deiter. From Gault's explanation of how her feelings of privilege and guilt for being an artist changed to feelings of duty and finally the notion of glorious, to Deiter's story of the necessity of having faith and commitment, each artist's story spoke to the opportunities offered and barriers experienced in pursuing their art.

In his keynote address, Culture and Politics, John Holden presented a conceptual framework for valuing culture: intrinsic, instrumental and institutional, asserting that all three perspectives must be considered together. He discussed the values within the contexts in which they operate: the public, politicians and cultural professionals. Noting the tendency of the political perspective to think of culture in terms of its instrumental values, Holden said that politicians must pay greater attention to all of its values. Culture is a major economic driver and a factor in every aspect of life from international relations to educational achievement. Culture is at the centre of economic and social life. Places where culture occurs is where civic life thrives. The consumption and production of culture are not elite preoccupations, they involve huge numbers of people. Holden concluded that politics must pay more attention to culture, treating it as a central concern. Politicians and funders need to understand the full range of values, and see themselves as nurturing a cultural ecology rather than providing a cultural service. Holden called for a new alignment between culture, politics and the public, challenging cultural professionals to find new ways to engage with the public and create greater public value. Holden is head of Culture at the think tank Demos and a Visiting Professor at City University in the UK. His publications are available at www.demos.co.uk/people/johnholden.

Joining John Holden in a panel discussion were Jim Marshall, Chief Economist of the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy and author of The Economics of Public Support for the Arts, and David Garneau, visual artist, critic, curator and Associate Professor at the University of Regina. Marshall talked about economic theory and the valuation of goods, both private and public. Garneau spoke about how art fulfills social and aesthetic goals and the potential dangers.

The Honourable Christine Tell, Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport spoke about the Ministry and her vision for the arts sector. The Ministry was created to support, and celebrate and build pride in Saskatchewan. Speaking to her government's over-arching goal of quality of life, Minister Tell said, "Improving quality of life builds pride in Saskatchewan and contributes to growth and opportunity. Arts, culture and heritage contribute to Saskatchewan’s identity and are a means of communicating who we are as a people. By focusing on culture as a driver of creativity and innovations, we create competitive and vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play."

Minister Tell's vision is that "Saskatchewan be known as a great place to live, work and play … where there is access to a diverse range of arts, culture and heritage experiences and … arts, culture and heritage thrive and form a strong cultural identity -- the foundation for provincial growth and prosperity. The artist is central to the development of this vision." To advance her plans, the Ministry will look to new partnerships opportunities with the "Arts and Culture Sector Team" of Enterprise Saskatchewan, K – 12 and post-secondary education systems, and tourism. Minister Tell summarized her address saying, "Beyond their intrinsic value, arts, culture and heritage are tools for achieving non-cultural ends. They contribute to innovation, the economy, tourism, our communities, and a sense of place. We are taking a fresh and integrated approach to development of the arts sector."

Following the Minister's address, there was a reception celebrating the Saskatchewan Arts Board's 60th birthday with music provided by Bob Evans.

Deputy Minister Van Isman, in a Conversation with Kate Davis, Director of the McKenzie Art Gallery discussed his vision and the Ministry's plans for the arts. Isman noted that the basis of the Ministry's mandate is to address the quality of life in complement with Saskatchewan's economic growth and community development. The Ministry has identified four pillars: 1) creators - building their personal and commercial capacity, 2) citizens - having access and participating, 3) communities - enriching and animating communities, 4) economy - supporting economic sustainability. The Ministry intends to formulate a strategic plan and policy for the arts sector, and over the next few months will be holding consultations.

Lee Maracle, award winning author and professor, gave the luncheon address. Maracle spoke about the issues facing the arts community and in particular the situation of Aboriginal peoples. She asked us to dream of what kind of Canada we want as artists, and then create the art that aims the arrow in that direction. Maracle ended by saying that art is a critical part of our lives, from birth to death, part of a way of life. We need to imagine.

Other Congress highlights included a session on cultural policy in which Rose Olfert, co-writer of the paper Cultural Policy in Saskatchewan, spoke about the paper's findings and conclusions. Jan Seibel, lawyer, visual artist and a member of the SAA Artist Equity committee gave an update on Status of the Artist. There was a community consultation with the Sask. Arts Board in which Executive Director Jeremy Morgan spoke about their plans for the future. The Saskatchewan Arts Alliance also consulted with delegates to get input on the SAA's plans.

Poet Laureate Robert Currie closed the conference with a reading – and what a reading it was – inspiring, moving and relevant – all the things that art is and can be. How privileged we were.

CONGRESS SPONSORS
Saskatchewan Arts Alliance gratefully acknowledges the 2008 Arts Congress sponsors:
    Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport
    City of Regina Arts Commission
    Saskatchewan Arts Board
    SaskCulture
    Saskatchewan Lotteries
    Poet Laureate Program, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.