This week saw the biggest ever Arts Day on the Hill, a national event in Ottawa, coordinated by the Canadian Arts Coalition, where arts and culture leaders communicate with MPs about the needs of the sector in the year ahead. The Alliance's own executive director Brenda Leadlay was there in full force to spread the message! While we wait for the official recap of the day from the Coalition, we thought we'd share an overview of the key messages from the event.
The arts sector contributes massively to the Canadian GDP, to the tune of 3%, and Canadians overwhelmingly believe arts and culture help us express and define what it means to be Canadian. In order to ensure this important sector maintains its role as a key contributor to our country's economic and creative wellbeing, we need to work with our elected officials. Our previous work with government advocates has been fruitful. Budget 2016 saw favourable investments in the arts and culture sector, including the doubling of the budget for the Canada Council for the Arts. In the Department of Canadian Heritage, grants under $75,000 no longer need the Minister's signature. But there's still room for improvement.
2016 recommendations from the Canadians Arts Coalition include conveying the importance of:
- creating cultural spaces which are accessible to all artists and audiences, regardless of physical ability;
- programs like Showcasing Canada, which help us express our identities and present our artists, including those from racialized communities, to an international audience;
- sustainable funding to ensure stable lives for Canadian artists, who often live near or under the poverty line;
- the continuation of Digital Culture consultations, so Canadian artists who create digital content can remain central to the conversation.
Thanks to the Canadian Arts Coalition for their leadership in the #ArtsDay initiative. The Alliance pledges its support to share these important messages in the weeks and months to come. We look forward to redoubling our advocacy efforts at all levels of government, with an eye toward the upcoming provincial election in early 2017. Let's work together to forge a healthy and vibrant future for arts and culture in Canada!