Invest in the Arts

Culture GDP in Saskatchewan was $914.9 Million in 2016, representing 1.3% of the province’s economy. (1)

The number of culture jobs in Saskatchewan: “Culture jobs increased 2.2% to 12,850 in 2016. Overall, total jobs in Saskatchewan decreased 1.1%.” (1)

92% of Canadians believe that arts experiences are a valuable way of bringing together people from different languages and cultural traditions. (2)

Artists play an important, valuable role in Saskatchewan society and deserve fair compensation their work. Public access to art and artists – through distribution, exhibition, education and training – benefits Saskatchewan and all its citizens.

Arts organizations and associations are integral to connecting artists and their work with the public through the creation, dissemination and exhibition of artistic works, leadership and education.

Canadian businesses see many important reasons to invest in the arts. In B4tA‘s 2015 study (3), large businesses most often agreed that these were important reasons to support the arts:

  • A company’s support of the arts enhances employee engagement (80%)
  • The arts make a significant contribution to the economy of a community (80%)
  • The arts encourage and stimulate creativity and innovation (77%)

Small and medium-size businesses also found important cultural, social, and economic reasons to support the arts:

  • Arts and cultural activities make for a vibrant community and society (93%)
  • Some of our employees are involved in or support arts and cultural activities (80%)
  • The arts are an economic engine of growth in the community (74%)

Considering “returns” on such arts-investments, Return on Investment (ROI) was important, but not as important as Social Return on Investment (SROI). Large businesses were particularly keen on SROI:

  • Large businesses, importance of ROI = 68%
  • Large businesses, importance of SROI = 88% (3)

Governmental investment can lead by example:

The Saskatchewan Government’s $3.4M investment in arts organizations – through the Arts Board – triggers another $3.3M in federal investment and generates expenditures almost 9 times the original investment (Source: CADAC Data).

Governmental support is a powerful example and motivator for investing in the arts: “be it at the municipal, provincial or federal levels, are important as they set an example for the public. If government engages in the arts and culture either through funding or program development, people will follow.” (4)

During the SAA’s 2014 Member Consulations, SAA members reported that Arts Organizations are not only addressing the Saskatchewan government’s growth-plan priorities (Vision 2020), but excelling at addressing these objectives, such as

  • fostering a creative arts and cultural community that is vibrant, sustainable, internationally recognized and valued by residents;
  • creating a better quality of life;
  • aiding diversity, including international outreach, engagement, immigration; and
  • enabling innovation & education.
  • The SAA member-organizations also noted more funding would allow for a bolstering of core programming and delivering it to a wider audience (specifically being more inclusive of youth, newcomers, and First Nations groups).

Project-specific funding is welcome, but cannot replace core funding. Increased core funding could lead to better implementation of all programming.

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(1) Statistics Canada, “Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators, 2016,” The Daily, Released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time in The Daily, Tuesday, February 27, 2018.
(2) Phoenix Strategic Perspectives, The Arts and Heritage in Canada – Access and Availability 2012.
(3) Strategic Council, Building the Case for Business Support of the Arts: A Study Commissioned by Business for the Arts, Feb.2015. (Businesses were sized as follows: Small = revenues less than $5 Mil; Medium = $5Mil < revenues < $50 Mil; Large = Revenues > $50 Mil.)
(4) Vital Signs: Belonging: Connecting Our Communities. South Saskatchewan Community Foundation 2016 Report, p21.