The arts and culture sector in NS needs your voice to make sure we are a central part of Nova Scotia's recovery. Artists and arts organizations have come together to create Home Is Where The Art Is, a campaign for artists and the broad public to positively and respectfully lobby our MLAs to ensure we can rebuild the hardest hit sector and make it stronger than ever. We have been working hand in hand with the NS Live Performance Recovery Coalition and together with our colleagues have identified our collective priorities that will make arts and culture survive and thrive in Nova Scotia.
The campaign logo, designed by Logan Robins, is intended to be approachable and in the spirit of positivity and celebration that centres the arts and culture in Nova Scotia's recovery. The provincial government is setting its priorities for recovery now and the need has never been greater to ensure that they include these structural changes in their upcoming budget. We need to positively engage MLAs of all parties now to show them how important this is to the whole province. We need your voice: the voices of individual artists and arts organizations, members, volunteers, staff, audiences and supporters.
We Are Stronger Together
Nova Scotia is home to an incredible, vibrant arts and culture sector, a critical economic building block for the province. According to the Culture Satellite Account (2020), culture contributes $989 million to Nova Scotia’s GDP and accounts for more than 14,000 jobs, employing more people than farming, fishing and forestry combined.
We reflect Nova Scotia in both traditional and cutting edge ways in every village and city of the province from Yarmouth to Sydney. Through music, dance, theatre, circus, visual arts, media, literature, craft and all the other disciplines, we create community identity, connect people from different communities and backgrounds, instil pride in Nova Scotians, and are a major draw for both tourists and new residents to Nova Scotia.
Our sector has suffered tremendous hardship throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last two years, we have seen drastic reductions in income, workforce, and wellbeing. The sector has endured repeated and prolonged closures, layoffs and terminations, the loss of highly professionalized staff, and alarming impacts on mental health. We were the first to shut down and will be the last to fully reopen. Federally, the sector has been categorized as “hardest hit.”
In the spring of 2021, the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council and Arts Nova Scotia facilitated conversations with nearly 200 community stakeholders. These sessions focused on the challenges faced during the pandemic, and how this sector could and should be harnessed to make Nova Scotia more vibrant, resilient, and inclusive. The resulting report, Building Back Better: A Vision for Culture Sector Recovery in Nova Scotia (BBB), assessed what needs to be done to ensure the arts and culture sector is a key part of Nova Scotia’s recovery.
While the disease may be waning, and restrictions may be lifting, that doesn't fix the pandemic-related or systemic issues facing our sector as outlined in the BBB report. The time is now to ensure our provincial government accepts the recommendations of that report and include immediate and sustainable investment for arts and culture in the provincial budget. We need your voice to ensure a successful recovery and rebuilding.
Take action now to rebuild Nova Scotia's Arts And Culture sector for the future.
We hope you will help advocate for the following recommendations:
The arts, and specifically the live performance sector in Nova Scotia must be provincially recognized as a “hardest hit sector” that requires critical emergency investment immediately to bridge the gap to the recovery phase of the pandemic crisis.
The Operational Support for Cultural Organizations Program has not seen a meaningful budget increase in over 20 years. Since then, inflation has grown 50% and continues to grow as a result of the pandemic. New investment for operations from the Department and NS Arts Council will facilitate increased stability, welcome new organizations, and include avenues to recognize and sustain self-producing artists, all required for a successful economic recovery in the post-pandemic world. Such investment will positively impact on the sector, and therefore individual artists.
We are asking for a doubling of support for operating programs this year and the program to be indexed to inflation in subsequent years.
3. Building Back Better
Nova Scotia needs new and sustained investment in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, and further investment in other innovative programs which will stimulate an equitable and robust recovery.