The six measure outlined in this article were endorsed by delegates of the 2003 Arts Congress.
Saskatchewan’s arts and culture sector makes an indispensable contribution to our communities. Arts and culture contributes substantially to the province’s well being; it creates jobs, attracts tourism and is deeply involved with the general public. There is a correlation between cultural creativity and diversity, and economic growth.
Today, as we shift from the industrial to the information/creative economy, the ability to continually create new content and forms of expression becomes a necessity for a successful economy and depends, in part, on our province having a vibrant, creative labour force of artists. As a core asset to the province, our sector needs measures to be established that will ensure sustainability and stability.
While the province has some arts policies, Saskatchewan Arts Alliance believes that to guide wise decision-making, a pan-departmental policy grounded in sound principles and developed within the context of our sector is needed. Decisions about the arts and culture sector should be aimed at creating an environment where the arts can flourish, and where content providers will be attracted to and ultimately enrich the province. An arts policy should attend to the well being of the entire arts sector including the audience/consumer, avocational and professional artists, and producers. Beyond guiding decision-making, the policy should convey to the public the vital role that arts and culture plays in our province.
SAA believes the following measures would provide sustainability and stability to the arts sector.
- Arts and Culture Policy
Implementation of a pan-departmental arts and culture policy that provides principles and guidelines for government to support and develop the arts sector, and ensures Saskatchewan's cultural sovereignty. The policy should be proactive and recognize the fundamental value of all the arts, in all of their diversity. A visionary policy, which charges government to act, would ensure that Saskatchewan arts and artists would thrive into the future.
- Arts Education
Arts education for all students in Saskatchewan is vital to having a well-educated population equipped with relevant knowledge and in particular the creative and critical thinking tools necessary for the creative economy. Students educated to think creatively and critically are the foundation for our province’s success.
Saskatchewan does have an arts education program that is a core subject area. However, many students in Saskatchewan schools are not receiving instruction in this core area. Measures should be taken to ensure all students benefit from an arts education. One step to take would be development of resource materials, and in particular resources specific to the Saskatchewan arts.
Development of post-secondary programs will support the need for trained content providers and will enable students to remain in province while continuing training in their chosen profession.
- Artist Equity
Artists deserve to have the same protections and rights as other workers. In 2002, the Saskatchewan legislature enacted Status of the Artist Act that recognizes, in principle, rights for artists - a substantial first step. Saskatchewan Arts Alliance advocates that a full Artists Code inclusive of collective rights and standards for artists be achieved.
- Cultural Industries
Implementation of the 1997 Cultural Industries Development Strategy should advance. There should be development of tax credit programs to all cultural industries; enhanced awareness of career opportunities in cultural industries; and as a government priority the appreciation and procurement of Saskatchewan cultural products.
- Regional Development
Regions outside of Regina and Saskatoon, including the northern part of the province, must be assisted to develop arts and culture opportunities.
- Arts Funding
Larger government investment in the arts and in particular, more money dedicated to the Saskatchewan Arts Board and, through the lottery license agreement, to Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Culture, Recreation and Sport. Saskatchewan Arts Board provides support to the arts sector that in other sectors would be seen as investment in research and development. SaskCulture, a community-driven organization provides developmental and ongoing support to a large community network of cultural organizations and activity throughout Saskatchewan.
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