June 13, 2007
Dear Ms. Gladwell:
Your letter of April 5, 2007, was forwarded to me by Premier Lorne Calvert for response. Thank you for making your concern with regard to arts funding in Saskatchewan known. In considering government?s support for the arts, I feel that it is important to outline the basis for the decisions of the past year.
As a major supporter of the arts in Saskatchewan, you are already aware of the final report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Status of the Artist (MACSA), released by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation in July 2006. That report has formed the basis for government?s strategic plan to improve the socio-economic status of artists. As a result of the excellent work by MACSA, this agenda was set as a key priority, and much progress has been made.
This year?s 14 percent increase in funding to the Saskatchewan Arts Board is the largest single-year funding increase the Arts Board has seen in many years. The increase, part of government?s response to the 2006 MACSA report, acknowledges the success of the Arts Board in advancing the arts and artists in Saskatchewan.
Other elements of government?s direct response to the MACSA recommendations, in addition to the funding increase to the Saskatchewan Arts Board, include:
- Saskatchewan Property Management has committed to allocating 0.5 percent of its budget for capital development and refurbishment to the purchase and commission of art on an ongoing basis;
- The most recent budget announced the provision of extended health benefits to 30,000 low-income workers, including artists; and,
- A Saskatchewan First procurement policy has been established for the procurement of artistic goods and services by government where tender requirements can be met.
Government recently attempted to pass precedent-setting legislation regarding professional relations between artists and engagers. You were in attendance at the committee meeting in which the progress of the bill was stalled just prior to the end of the spring legislative session. While the outcome of that meeting was disappointing for all of us, this government remains committed to proceeding with the bill in the next session.
As with any strategic plan, not every action can be implemented immediately; however, progress is being made. Government will continue to use the MACSA report as the basis for incremental support to the arts in Saskatchewan in this fiscal year and in the coming years.
I very much appreciate the dialogue that the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance generates on matters pertaining to the arts. I look forward to your continued contribution to that dialogue in the future.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation
cc. Premier Lorne Calvert