Thank you Premier Alison Redford for your advocacy of the Arts! Here is the Alison Redford leadership campaign Arts and Culture Policy -
Culture and the arts all too often get short shrift in the public policy arena, although for many people they represent more than just entertainment. Embodying freedom and creativity, the arts are the deepest and truest way many Albertans express themselves and understand the world around them.
On a larger scale, culture and the arts are also what make cities and Alberta itself great – great for Albertans and visitors alike. The arts and culture provide the colour and vitality that make our communities interesting places to live. They are just as important as bank balances or bottom lines and as Premier, I will give them the firm support they have lacked for so long. Although sports are often lumped in with culture, for investing purposes, my government will treat them separately.
Art for Kids’ Sakes
One of the reasons why the arts often fail to get the attention they deserve is because we don’t spend enough time teaching our children to appreciate them. Art class is too often treated as a disposable option in the school system. In tune with the recommendations of Alberta Education’s Inspiring Education Report, I want our schools to develop well-rounded, innovative thinkers.
Giving kids the chance to think for themselves and honing their creativity is vital and the arts offer the best way to achieve this. However, it’s also important not to ignore further opportunities to expose kids to the arts beyond the classroom. I will:
- Increase funding for the arts in the education system, allowing schools to provide stronger course offerings with more capacity;
- Develop an organized campaign to promote kids’ access to the arts outside school – studies show that kids who regularly attend public art performances display a higher degree of public engagement as adults.
…And Everyone Else’s Too
Although their role is often overlooked, culture and the arts are an economic force to be reckoned with. From studios to galleries to secondary support industries, they generate a significant number of jobs and add value to our province. In 2006, arts and culture-related industries were responsible for three percent of Alberta’s GDP, amounting to $7.15 billion. In 2009 the Alberta Arts Foundation disbursed $35 million in grants, creating $235 million in direct economic activity and over 5,000 full and part-time jobs. These are trends I want to develop further.
And while Alberta is already an attractive place to live, we can enhance its beauty and our quality of life even more by promoting our talents and attracting others to Alberta. As Premier I will:
- Promote the arts and culture as economic forces and work to attract new arrivals to work in Alberta’s arts community. In partnership with other Albertan arts and culture promotion organizations, my government will co-invest in a province-wide summit to assess this sector’s strengths and weaknesses, outline objectives, and sketch out cost-effective initiatives to facilitate its growth;
- Encourage Alberta’s generous philanthropists to support cultural endeavours through tax incentives;
- Use extra revenues to support cultural institutions and to help promote and display made-in-Alberta art throughout the province and beyond, after topping up the Sustainability and Heritage Trust Funds;
- Work with municipalities to design and create accessible green spaces to showcase local artists’ talent with public art installations. I began doing exactly this as Justice Minister when I signed off two years ago on the installation of Joe Fafard’s “Do Re Mi Fa So La Si Do” sculpture on the grounds of Calgary’s old courthouse; it was officially unveiled during this year’s Stampede.
- Ramp up funding for culture and the arts in other policy areas such as health care to grow related jobs and heighten the fields’ visibility.
However, my plans to support the arts and culture extend beyond these goals. Arts and culture are intimately connected to Albertans’ sense of time. It’s through them that we understand our history, describe our present and imagine where we’re going. We use the arts and culture to build our identity as Albertans steeped in the western way of life. Without them, we would be unable to fully understand the great traditions and the province we’ve inherited, much less our place in them. I’m promoting the arts and culture, from highlighting our legacy to stimulating and showcasing creative initiatives, because I think Alberta is worth knowing.