Friday, December 17, 2010

CALL TO ACTION

SAA Bulletin - December 2010

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In this issue…
Call to Action
Holiday Hours


CALL TO ACTION
It is the holiday season, the legislature has finished the fall sitting, MLAs are back in their home ridings, and provincial budget deliberations are coming to the final stages…

Now is the perfect time for you and your board members to meet with your MLAs to talk about the good work you and your organization does and the benefits it brings to your community.

This is a call to action. We need your help to raise awareness with our elected officials about the importance of the arts and how the arts benefit Saskatchewan. When speaking with your MLA, illustrate how your activity impacts others in your community. See Ways Your Organization Benefits People of Saskatchewan below for ideas and select 2 or 3.

SAA met with Hon. Bill Hutchinson, Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport (TPCS) this week. We spoke about the arts in our province and also the challenges facing our sector. We showed the Minister a snapshot of Arts Board organizational funding that shows (measured in 2010 dollars) arts organizations' spending power is well below 1994/95 levels. We asked the Minister to increase the Saskatchewan Arts Board general revenue fund transfer and also to reinstate the $2.03 million funding cut from last year's provincial budget line item "Support for Provincial Arts and Cultural Organizations".

The Minister expressed interest in hearing stories about the spin-off benefits of provincial government funding of the arts. The example of the Art Gallery of Swift Current (AGSC) particularly resonated with the Minister. The Gallery receives a modest grant between the Arts Board and SaskCulture which is dedicated to exhibition programming in the main gallery. Because of this support the City of Swift Current provides facility and operations support. Because a well-established arts operation is active in the community then many other services can be provided. Between funding, revenue earning services, sponsorships and donations, AGSC is able to leverage more than $450,000 worth of arts programming and services in the community and region. This does not include the value of volunteer and in-kind services and goods, and does not include the money spent in the business community as a result of arts activities, like tourism dollars. If included this would add tens of thousands more dollars to the overall spinoff value of AGSC. Arts Board support, in combination with monies from SaskCulture/Saskatchewan Lotteries and TPCS, funds less than 10% of the overall financial value – a great return on the investment. With increased investment from the Province good results like this can sustain and even get better.

Everyone has a similar example that the Minister should hear. SAA is collecting the stories to forward to the Minister. Either email or phone the SAA with your story. Even better, send your story directly to the Minister and copy the SAA. His contact information is:
Phone: (306) 787-0354 Fax: (306) 798-0264
Mail to: Room 345, Legislative Building, 2405 Legislative Drive, Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0B3
Email Address: minister.tpcsgov.sk.ca.

We know you are busy but please act now. The more people our elected officials and the Minister hear from, the better they will understand the extent to which Saskatchewan people value and support the arts. As well, urge your board members to personally contact their MLAs.


HOLIDAY HOURS
The SAA office will be closed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 5, however we will be checking our emails and messages regularly. Best Holiday Wishes to everyone from the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance.


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Ways Your Organization Benefits People in Saskatchewan
When talking with elected officials it will be helpful if you can discuss ways your organization benefits Saskatchewan citizens. In no specific order, here are some benefits which may be relevant to your organization depending on its mandate and programs. For more information, see Arts Benefits.

Social cohesion
Youth at risk
Cultural tourism development
Arts experiences as individual enjoyment and enrichment
Job creation
Economic generation
Business attractor
Development of community pride and identity
Sustaining attraction for young people
Creativity in Learning

For example, theatres provide arts experiences to communities, enrich the quality of life for residents, position the community as a desirable place for businesses to locate and young people to reside in, and provide work for artists, technicians, administrators, etc. along with spin-off economic benefits. Its programs might be directed to youth at risk or another direction that can easily be linked to improved social and community health. Families, business and professional people want opportunities for participation of family members in arts and cultural programs.

Public galleries address some if not all of the above attributes but also have a more specific and established educational value and impact on the culture and history of the community and area, for example, small city galleries.