Chris O'Neill, NS Arts coalition: email@example.com
Dear [MLA Name],
I would like to personally thank you for your service to the province and commend you for your leadership. I am [a volunteer, a board member, the artistic director, community supporter etc.] for [name of organization], as well as being a community member in your riding for [years]. I am writing to ask for your support for the whole arts sector in the upcoming budget.
As you know, 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 (including Health Care Professionals) to Nova Scotia
Our sector has suffered tremendous hardship throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last two and a half 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.”
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. I am writing today to ask you to support the following three recommendations as critical components of post-pandemic economic recovery in the Province of Nova Scotia, as identified in the BBB Report. 1. Lifeline - 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.
2. Recovery - 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- 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. $1.5 million over three years.
This small investment would improve the physical, mental and economic health of Nova Scotians, support our cultural workers and communities and make the province stronger through arts and culture.
I know how important arts and culture are to our community of [riding name], and we are grateful for your support for these recommendations. I look forward to hearing from you. I would also like this to be considered part of the Pre-Budget Consultation Process.