October 18, 2023 – Saint John, NB – On behalf of the ArtsLink NB membership, I write to express our disappointment in today’s Speech from the Throne. “Taking Action — Building a Stronger New Brunswick” failed to outline a strategy for the arts and culture sector.
“Taking Action — Building a Stronger New Brunswick” summarizes this government’s strategies for the development of the economy, communities, and the private sector. It briefly underscores the significance of tourism in bolstering the economy without proposing any concrete strategy for cultivating this resource. Culture generates a higher GDP than agriculture, pulp and paper manufacturing, IT, seafood, manufacturing, or mining.1 Our artists — writers, translators, filmmakers, actors, musicians, dancers, architects, painters, sculptors, traditional crafters, and creators — reflect our diversity of experience and weave community through shared experience.
We are cautiously optimistic about the long-awaited support for the revitalization of the New Brunswick Museum and eagerly await the museum’s new home. We also acknowledge the government’s investment of $5M in the film sector and urge them to deliver on their commitment to invest $20M in the film and media sector by 2025.
Nonetheless, we are profoundly disappointed that the Government of New Brunswick did not seize this opportunity to acknowledge its own substantial efforts and commitment to advancing the Status of the Artist. This initiative is aimed at elevating the socio-economic status of artists through legislation that would formally recognize the indispensable role of our workforce. This collaborative endeavour has involved professional artists, arts and cultural organizations, as well as representatives from provincial government departments. Together, we are examining social protections and government programs to which artists do not have access due to the unique nature of their work.
We call on our leaders to invigorate a clear and robust strategy for the arts and culture sector We are at the ready to collaborate with the Government of New Brunswick on our shared commitment to the advancement of this province.
1 David Campbell, Cultivating Our Cultural Workers, 2019, p.6.
About ArtsLink NB:
ArtsLink NB is a member-based arts service organization, founded in 2009 to advance the arts in New Brunswick by linking and unifying artists and arts organizations and promoting their value. We represent New Brunswick artists and arts organizations of all disciplines from across the province.
Julie Whitenect, Executive Director, ArtsLink NB