April 28, 2021
Cape Breton Island, NS – With the Cape Breton Partnership’s support, 16 creative sector organizations are launching a video campaign to advocate for the importance of arts and culture during the global pandemic and in its aftermath. The initiative is intended to spur public and political action that will protect the creative sector, which is still in critical need of support in order to overcome the impacts of COVID-19.
The advocacy video emphasizes the pandemic’s particularly devastating effect on arts and culture. Employment data from Statistics Canada shows that the creative sector is the furthest sector from recovery and the hardest hit throughout the pandemic. Many of the existing supports are not sufficient to meet the diverse needs of artists and creative organizations. While many sectors are entering a recovery period, the culture sector is still struggling to survive.
“Arts and culture are central to the identity of Unama’ki – Cape Breton, but the sector is vulnerable,” says Wesley Colford, Artistic and Executive Director of the Highland Arts Theatre. “So much of the livelihood of artists and creative organizations relies on in-person events, the gig economy, and other factors that have been upended because of the pandemic. Society is at risk of losing artists, cultural workers, and arts and culture organizations if we do not find innovative, sustainable ways to support the sector.”
The video, produced in collaboration with local businesses Novastream and Vibe Creative Group, provides examples of actions that individuals and governments can take to support the creative sector. ”We are encouraging our community to access services and products from local artists,” says Carla Arsenault, President and CEO of the Cape Breton Partnership. “We hope they’ll participate in arts and culture events as they restart, and find other ways to support artists or cultural organizations.” The video also calls for government, at all levels, to think creatively in developing a path to long-term recovery and to establish new funding opportunities that will bolster the creative sector.
“If the creative sector as we know it is to survive, our governments need to work together and with the sector to develop a recovery plan,” says local performer and arts consultant, Joella Foulds. “There is an opportunity for the provincial and federal government to collaboratively discuss issues facing the sector and to develop programs and strategies in alignment with each other to protect arts and culture.”
The organizations involved in this advocacy work hope that Unama’ki – Cape Breton will choose to support arts and culture moving forward. People are encouraged to help in this campaign by sharing the video on social media platforms and in other formats to ensure the message is widely viewed by community members and government representatives. The video can be found here.
Cape Breton Partnership
About the Cape Breton Partnership:
The Cape Breton Partnership is Unama’ki – Cape Breton’s private sector-led economic development organization that supports companies and entrepreneurs by promoting our island as a great place to live and invest; growing a culture that values and celebrates creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship; and connecting entrepreneurs and companies to the resources they need to succeed. For more information, visit https://capebretonpartnership.com.