So here’s the thing: The arts are good business. It’s not an either-or and never has been. The arts employ people, create economic spinoff in communities and draw people to our city. And you don’t have to take my word for it. “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,” says a recent release from two new arts advocacy groups in the province.
Home Is Where The Art Is and the Nova Scotia Live Performance Recovery Coalition have combined forces to get the message out. Because here’s the other thing: The idea that the culture sector is bigger than farming, fishing and forestry—combined!—can be a lot for people in government to process. But they need to understand, and quick.
With the province ending a slew of pandemic-related restrictions on March 21, the push for economic recovery is on, which is sure to be reflected in the upcoming provincial budget. It would be great for the arts sector, and therefore Nova Scotia’s economy, for that budget to include both emergency- and recovery-focused investment in the arts.
“While the news about the restrictions being lifted was welcome, the lasting effects of the pandemic on the sector won’t disappear overnight,” says Kelly Jerrott, executive director of Craft Nova Scotia, in the same release.
The coalition wants politicians to designate the live performance sector as a “hardest hit sector” of the economy, deserving of critical investment, and to give the Operational Support for Cultural Organizations Program a funding increase after 20 years without one. And you can help make that happen by joining the coalition and/or talking up the arts.
“The urgent call to action in advance of the 2022/23 provincial budget announcement is encouraging artists, arts organizations, and arts supporters to use the tools provided to contact their MLA,” the coalition says.
For suggested actions, you can fill out a form to email your MLA, sign up to show your support and/or request a meeting with your MLA to talk about how important the cultural economy is to you. The new provincial budget—the first from premier Tim Houston’s Progressive Conservative government—will be released on April 1, 2022.