Arts and culture in Nova Scotia is 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.
It is also important to note that Nova Scotians overwhelmingly agree that culture provides substantial benefits to their overall wellbeing.
80% of Nova Scotians say that culture helps create community identity
76% of Nova Scotians say that culture helps connect people from different communities and backgrounds
76% of Nova Scotians say that culture makes them proud of where they live
Culture is a key driver to attract visitors 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 to 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.”
[While] the culture sector [has] greatly suffered as a result of COVID-19…culture [has] played an essential role in helping people through the pandemic…Perhaps now more than ever, we find ourselves in a moment where the public understands that culture is an intrinsic and necessary part of our daily lives.
…We believe culture must play an essential role in the province’s post-pandemic recovery plans. Throughout the spring of 2021, the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council and Arts Nova Scotia partnered on an initiative to solicit input from the sector on how best to do this. Together, we facilitated conversations with nearly 200 stakeholders…These sessions focused not only on the challenges they faced and the issues that emerged during the pandemic, but also on how this sector could and should be harnessed to make Nova Scotia more vibrant, resilient, and inclusive."
The resulting report assessed what needs to be done to move the arts and culture sector into a healthier, equitable, and more sustainable future in Nova Scotia.
A complementary report Roadmap for Recovery was drafted by the Nova Scotia Live Performance Recovery Coalition, aiming to attach specific recommendations and actions to the BBB report’s identified areas of need. This report includes a detailed breakdown of the crisis that live arts and culture organizations are currently facing in Nova Scotia, with clear recommendations for action and forms the basis for this current advocacy push. While it is a report for the live arts sector, the recommendations affect arts organizations and the wider cultural community, and we need to speak as one.
The operating funding programs (meaning those that provide stable annual support for organizations which serve their community on an ongoing basis) in Nova Scotia provide approximately $3.707m annually spread over 74 organizations. The majority of these organizations have had no increases in over 10 yeas, and there is little opportunity for new arts organizations to gain investment.
The provincial government is setting its budget now and the need has never been greater to ensure they adopt the recommendations included here.
We hope you will help advocate for these recommendations by January 15, 2023, ind ideally before the holidays.
Our three requests are:
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 since 2006. 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 and the program to be indexed to inflation in subsequent years.
3. Building Back Better
The Province of 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.
For more information about this campaign or the issues facing the arts and culture sector, please contact