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. Building together on the work done by our colleagues at the NS Arts Council and others, we have identified our collective priorities that will make arts and culture survive and thrive in Nova Scotia. The provincial government is setting its priorities for its 2023 budget now (DEADLINE FEB 3, 2023), 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.
Join the Campaign
Background: 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.
However there has been historic underfunding, and the operating programs* of both the NS Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage and the NS Arts Council have been essentially frozen since 2006.
That's through five provincial governments. And at the same time as those dollars have stayed stagnant, the minimum wage rose from $7.15 to $13.60, inflation has continued to rise and the actual cost of, well, everything, has steadily risen, even before the advent of COVID-19.
Not only has that kept organizations from thriving, the lack of new investment has limited new voices from entering the operating fund pool, which Nova Scotia needs to keeps the arts and culture sector revitalized.
Our sector, which is made up of thousands of Nova Scotians, has also suffered tremendous hardship throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last three 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 and strong and visionary future.
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. This includes emergency funding for organizations which are barely holding on but which are critical to our communities.
The Operational Support for Cultural Organizations Programs of the Dept and the NS Arts Council have not seen a meaningful budget increase in over 20 years. 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.
This is approximately $3.5 million each year.
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. These would be $3 million over 3 years.
*Operating Programsallow non profit organizations which have solid administrative structures and great cultural benefit to the Province to have some measure of stability year over year.