October 19, 2023

Several key cultural industry associations and groups met recently to discuss the state of the arts and culture sector in NB. As important voices advocating for the arts and culture sector, we submit these insights and recommendations to further strengthen and support the vital contributions made by this sector.

It is time to recognize the importance of arts and culture in New Brunswick.

In 2021 — despite a 5% workforce decline from 2020 — New Brunswick’s arts and culture sector employed 7,050 people and contributed $578 million to the province’s GDP. Recovery from the pandemic remains a challenge, with fewer organizations and businesses from 2020 to 2022.

Inflation has raised costs by over 16% since 2019, impacting the ability of cultural organizations to fulfill their essential role within the sector’s framework. The foundation of the cultural ecosystem is made up of community centres, festival organizers, art spaces, and other cultural assets. Arts organizations offer funding for creation, distribution, and presentation, as well as for training and employment of artists, and a place for artists and the public to assemble, study, explore, and develop as a community. 

The Arts and Culture Branch of the Department of Tourism, Heritage, and Culture faces severe underfunding, making it difficult to meet the sector’s needs. We urge the government to recognize the value of investing in arts and culture in order to sustain and grow these essential contributions to our society and economy.

We recommend a minimum investment of $25M in arts and culture for the 2024-25 Provincial Budget, including the following:

  • Increase the Core Support Programs by $2.5M for cultural organizations’ base funding.
  • Allocate $2.5M to support festivals, including Arts in Communities and the Invitation Festival Fund.
  • Boost the Music Industry Development Program (MID) by $460,000.
  • Provide an additional $2M to the New Brunswick Arts Board through the Arts Development Trust Fund.
  • Allocate funding towards the local governance reform project to develop and implement new municipal cultural strategies.
  • Uphold the commitment to the Film, Television, and New Media Industries by increasing film industry funding by $5M to reach the 2025 target.

Your leadership in bringing these recommendations to the forefront will pave the way for a brighter future for all New Brunswickers and our economy. We are ready to discuss these proposals with you and explore collaborative initiatives and solutions toward implementing positive change and prosperity.

Thank you for your time and commitment to our province’s arts and culture sector.

ArtsLink NB, CraftNB, Creating Access, Mawi’art: Wabanaki Artist Collective, Media NB, Music•Musique NB, NB Arts Centre Association INC / Association des centres des arts du NB INC., RADARTS inc.

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