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Time to Reinvest


April 11, 2019

Dear Minister Haley,

On behalf of Eastern Edge Gallery, Newfoundland and Labrador’s feminist artist-run centre, we ask that you consider supporting the current campaign for increased funding for ArtsNL.

We have read your mandate letter and note that you have been empowered “to advance the status of all women in our province and to provide this lens to all our decision making, including enhancing our implementation of GBA+ (Gender Based Analysis Plus).” In 2018 Eastern Edge worked with over 200 artists (most of whom identify as female, Indigenous and/or queer) and we pay all of our artists the national standard rate for their work.

Minister Haley, an increase to ArtsNL not only supports the arts, it directly sustains an entire sector that is staffed by a majority of womxn, many of whom work for salaries below the national average for their field. Our Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation has been called on to increase the annual budget for ArtsNL to 5 million in order to bring our provincial per capita spending in the arts to the national average of ($5.44 per capita).

According to 2019 statistics, 57% of visual artists are female and 68% are self-employed. Compared with all artists, visual artists tend to have lower income levels – which are already below a minimum standard. Other art disciplines are dominated by even higher percentages of female workers. (Please see the recent report – link attached below.)Our sector is providing these pivotal opportunities for women and we are well-poised to provide more. As Calla Lachance (Artistic Director of NDW) recently invoked: “The collective capacity of provincial Arts Directors, to embrace sectoral leadership roles to be effective cultural connectors (across the country and in the region) has excelled beyond the role of administrators and producers of festivals or series events.” ArtsNL funding is essential to foster and sustain women in leadership roles.

Writer Sharon Bala recently underscored that the Arts and Culture sector “according to Minister Mitchelmore himself, generates a $450 million return on a $20 million investment. That’s a 2,150% ROI.” This equity deficit is of critical concern to feminists and those who want to see equity balances across all sectors of our economy.

This is an equity imbalance that would not be tolerated in the business sector, an imbalance that adversely impacts womxn, people of colour, Indigenous and First Nations people, disabled artists and the LGBTQ+ community. For these marginalized communities, arts funding provides an avenue to address this imbalance. Investing in the working lives of artists by increasing the ArtsNL budget to 5 million dollars over three years will be felt broadly across a range of key ministerial portfolios.

The Status of the Artist legislation (in which  we, alongside representatives from other arts organisations, invested our unpaid expertise) clearly demonstrates your government’s desire to support the Arts and Culture sector. We need now to see this put into action.

We stand alongside our colleagues at Artistic Fraud, Business and Arts NL, The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, Neighbourhood Dance Works and the many others who have provided greater context and information regarding the decline in arts funding provincially and we urge you to contribute to the #5MillionIn2021 campaign.  

As a feminist organization, we were thrilled to see you appointed as Minister responsible for the Status of Women. As a newly designated ministerial department we are excited to witness the impact you can make with these resources.


On behalf of the board of Directors
Executive Director

Philippa Jones

Please see national statistical profile here attached and follow the online discussion:

#feministart #5MillionIn2021 #artsNL #nlarts @NLArtsCouncil #InvestInArts #nlpoli