“Art, Now More Than Ever” — BC Alliance for Arts + Culture

The Canada Council for the Arts has released its 2021-26 Strategic Plan, Art, Now More Than Ever.

Says the introduction:

Art comes from a hopeful place, and it forges and mends relationships even in a time of crisis. Words, music, the built environment, movement, images—artistic creation in all its forms inspires us to reflect on who we are and the world in which we live. Art entertains us, comforts us, and brings us together. Art nourishes our sense of belonging, strengthening our connections to the wider world, as well as to the many communities to which we belong—by origin, adoption, and aspiration. The power of art endures when everything else falls apart; art is an essential need.

Art and culture have played an important role in people’s daily lives throughout the pandemic, although the arts—like other sectors—have had to suspend many activities. Audiences are still engaging with art, although the opportunities for most artists and cultural workers to practise their craft have dwindled to almost nothing. This situation will not continue indefinitely—the sky clears after even the most destructive storms. We need artists to imagine a new reality now more than ever.

The new plan has categorized the Council’s commitments under three categories.

The first commitments seek to Invest in rebuilding and innovation. The Council has committed to:

  • support artistic and literary creation and foster increased access to the arts across Canada.

  • invest in a sustainable rebuilding of the arts sector through emergency support and recovery measures.

  • improve access to funding for youth, official language minority communities, and historically underserved and marginalized communities, including Indigenous, Black, racialized, Deaf and disability, and 2SLGBTQ and gender-diverse communities, women, and artists at intersections of these groups.

  • strengthen its presence, interactions, and support for artistic and literary activity in the North of Canada.

  • ensure more equitable access to project funding for artists, arts groups, and organizations in all regions of the country.

  • encourage the development of innovative business models and support the ongoing digital transformation.

In section two, Amplify the benefits of the arts for society, the Council commits to:

  • encourage the arts sector in its efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion, eliminate the consequences of racism and colonization in the arts sector, overturn misogyny and all forms of discrimination against women, advance gender equality, and mitigate the effects of climate change in the context of its activities.

  • respect and protect the intellectual property, traditional knowledge, and artistic and cultural expression of Indigenous people and encourage the arts sector to serve as an example in furthering this work.

  • champion improved working conditions and financial security for artists and cultural workers, notably in the form of a social safety net.

  • promote universal access to digital resources for artists, arts groups, and organizations and audiences, particularly in underserved areas such as the North of Canada.

In section three, Nurture and expand collaboration and partnerships, the Council commits to:

  • foster cross-sectoral collaboration and the transfer and sharing of knowledge within the arts sector and, more broadly, between the sector and Canadian society.

  • engage Canadian and international partners, notably in the field of social innovation, to support and position the arts in post-pandemic reconstruction of the economy, communities, and society.

  • strengthen and expand the international presence of artists, arts groups, and organizations from Canada, and increase cultural diplomacy initiatives to advance dialogue and exchanges between cultures. This work will be undertaken on numerous platforms and in ways that seek to mitigate environmental impact.

  • strengthen its presence and relationships in the North to meet its unique and varied cultural realities for making and sharing arts and culture.

To read the full strategic plan, click here.

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