The Arts and Culture Sector in New Brunswick has requested a $25 million investment from the provincial government for the 2024-2025 budget. This request stems from the challenges faced by the sector, notably the impact of COVID-19 and underfunding. The sector’s plea is supported by eight industry groups and associations who have signed a joint letter outlining the urgent need for increased funding.

“It is time to recognize the importance of arts and culture in New Brunswick,” wrote executive director of ArtsLinkNB Julie Whiteneck. 

Importance of the Arts and Culture Sector

The Arts and Culture Sector is vital to New Brunswick, both for residents and as a tourism attraction. The sector provided employment to 7,085 individuals in the post-COVID recovery period, as reported by the Writer Federation of New Brunswick. Despite its substantial economic contributions, the sector has not received the same level of support as other sectors. The sector contributed $575 million to the province’s GDP in 2021.


Consequently on October 19th, a joint letter signed by eight industry groups representing the arts and culture sector recommended $25 million is the minimum amount of funding needed to support the sector. “The Arts and Culture Branch of the Department of Tourism, and Culture faces severe underfunding, making it difficult to meet the sector’s needs,” stated the letter.  

It continues, “The foundation of the cultural ecosystem is made up of community centres, festival organizers, art spaces, and other cultural assets. Arts organizations offer funding for creation, distribution, and presentation, as well as for training and employment of artists, and a place for artists and the public to assemble, study, explore, and develop as a community.”

With the $25 million investment into the sector, the groups wish to boost and supply support to festivals by $2.5 million. This includes Arts in communities as well as the Invitation Festival Fund. Also, $460,000 to the Music Industry Development Program (MID) and $5 million to the television and new media industries. They will also be allocating resources to introduce new Municipal cultural strategies.  

Challenges Amid Recovery

The Arts and Culture Sector’s personnel declined by 5% in 2020. Moreover, its financial burdens have been exacerbated by a 16% rise in inflation since 2019. This has led to increased costs in hiring talent and organizing cultural events. “Recovery from the pandemic remains a challenge,” stated Julie Whiteneck.

The plea for a $25 million investment in the Arts and Culture Sector is a request for acknowledgement of its vital role in the province’s economy and cultural landscape. While the sector has faced numerous challenges and setbacks, it continues to make a substantial contribution. This investment, if granted, would enable the sector to grow and expand its cultural offerings.

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