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New Brunswick Arts Board details new budget and programs

Just before the provincial election, the Province of New Brunswick renewed its Cultural Policy, Creative Futures, and with that comes money for some new projects.

The New Brunswick Arts Board, otherwise known as artsnb, has been given $200,000 towards programming. This money is meant to help artists in the province through existing programs and fund some new pilot projects.

Akoulina Connell is the executive director of artsnb. She’s excited to have the money and invest it in young talent. A new one-time start up grant program is something she thinks will help artists.

“Up to five years after graduation, new artists can apply for a one-time grant for equipment or infrastructure, a value up to $2,500. So it’s a great little program because it helps with start-up costs, which can be expensive, like buying a kiln or film equipment. Depending on the discipline, the cost is high.”

At the beginning of this year, two of artsnb’s biggest programs, Arts Scholarship and Artist in Residence, had lost some of its funds. But now, both these programs have been restored to their $300,000 value.

When cuts were made, Connell and her team tried to not affect a specific area.

“When we made cuts to our programs, we made sure to not cut from one in particular, just to shuffle the existing money around more strategically. Our funding hasn’t been stable for the past 20 years. We’re looking into private funding this fall to raise our budget in a few different areas.”

The Artist in Residence program directly hits the UNB campus. The Writer in Residence for the Creative Writing program on campus has previously received funding through artsnb and the university. Connell mentions that this person is not only available for the university, but the entire province.

While artsnb is valuable to all arts and culture enthusiasts around the province, it is especially the young that can benefit.

“If we don’t do a good job of supporting young people who wish to develop their creative capacity, then we’re limiting our society. There are a lot of scholarships available for other subjects, but there’s not much available for those looking to study fine arts,” said Connell.

“This is a key investment into someone’s career path. We hope one day these artists become clients of artsnb because they had support and encouragement from the beginning.”

On Friday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m., the Fine Arts department at St. Thomas University will be hosting Vanessa Moeller from artsnb, who will give a workshop on how to write an effective grant proposal.

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