Note: The following letter was submitted by Germaine Pataki-Thériault to the Telegraph Journal. It is published in its original form here with her permission.
This is an open letter to Hon. Bill Fraser, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture
I would like to add an arts business perspective to the many voices concerned about the proposed funding cuts to the New Brunswick Arts Board (artsnb).
Gallery 78 has known for 40 years the importance of arts and culture in economic development and enticing tourism to the Province while creating collective pride in the artistic treasurers of the Province.
People come from all over the world to this beautiful Province and are astounded at its cultural offerings. The arts community has worked hard for many years to develop this environment in which we develop and showcase world class excellence.
Artsnb was developed by clever, forward-thinking arts leaders so that New Brunswick could have a strong, autonomous arts council based on progressive world models that would serve artists and organizations in their creative process. With the proposed changes, New Brunswick’s model would be moving backward instead of forward, which is detrimental in this global economy.
Given New Brunswick’s financial situation and from a small business perspective, Gallery 78 understands the importance of doing more with less. It was with optimism that I read Dr. Monica Gattinger’s study on NB’s provincial arts funding with recommendations including reducing overlap and duplication and harmonizing functions within artsnb and the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture. With the limited financial resources available to the arts, optimization must be key. For the benefit of the artists, the mechanism for administration must be an arm’s length agency.
Please take the time to consult during this time of change, ask especially artists what their needs are from the resources available.
With New Brunswick’s small population base, Gallery 78 knows the importance of marketing to the world. Let us all continue to work together moving forward as a progressive arts community to support our artists and in turn our Province.