artsnb responds to criticisms of inefficiency, unaccountability from Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture
April 22, 2016, Fredericton – In justifying the decision to effect a $400,000 administrative cut to the budget of the New Brunswick Arts Board, the Liberal government and Minister of Tourism Bill Fraser have leaned heavily on the argument that artsnb’s administration budget is too large. The Minister has yet, however, to provide any financial analysis to support this claim, and has misrepresented figures in both the legislature and when speaking with the media.
A great deal of care is taken in preparing the artsnb annual report in order to ensure full transparency and accountability. A detailed report of revenues and expenses is annexed to this release. What has gone unsaid is that the administration budget for artsnb also includes important services to artists, such as workshops, research, consultation services, and community outreach efforts.
“As long as our funding envelope for grant programs remains limited, artsnb will remain vulnerable to criticism with regards to the efficiency of its funding administration,” remarks Akoulina Connell, Executive Director for artsnb, “As stated in Dr. Monica Gattinger’s independent report, artsnb would be well suited to oversee all artistic creation funding programs in the province. This would represent an over $2.3 million increase to our funding envelope, which would require a modest administrative increase of roughly $160,000 to hire three new employees and account for new jury expenses. If the government wants to achieve greater efficiencies across all arts programming delivery for New Brunswickers, this solution is the answer.”
Results of cuts: The government’s proposed cuts, in the name of achieving efficiencies, will have a substantial adverse effect on artsnb’s operations, namely:
FY 2016-2017 – $200,000 cut
- Loss of outreach capabilities (workshops, stakeholder meetings, activities outside Fredericton/artsnb office)
- Loss of autonomous financial control (dept of Finance conducts audit & financial functions, eliminating artsnb’s ability to conduct private fundraising or receive funding through charitable status)
- Loss of independent communication & translation (blog, social media communications, media relations, quality control over translation of jury materials)
- Artsnb offices moved to within government department office – from arm’s length to finger-length
- Inability to hire new Executive Director – loss of leadership and a fundamental voice for the arts community
Following the second $200,000 reduction, the artsnb staff in FY 2017-2018 would be reduced to 1.5 program officers for processing grant applications (one full-time and one part-time), with its vestigial autonomy effectively removed by its absorption into the department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.
Recommended increase to budget: The effect the recommended increase would have on artsnb’s administration to funding ratio is demonstrated here:
artsnb current funding envelope: $910,000
Artsnb current administration budget (before cuts): $540,086
Ratio of admin dollars to grants funded: $1.68 funded per admin dollar spent
Artsnb new funding envelope: $3,141,672
Artsnb new administration budget: $705,695
New ratio of admin dollars to grants funded: $4.45 funded per admin dollar spent
Important note: For further clarification on how funding from the Atlantic Lottery Fund and the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture is spent, please see the two additional documents in annex to this release which describe the intensive jury process at artsnb as well as the full range of activities in which the arts board partakes.
See appendix below for the detailed artsnb budget disclosure.
Pierre McGraw – Chair, artsnb – firstname.lastname@example.org, 506-726-3579
Akoulina Connell – Executive Director, artsnb – email@example.com, 506-470-0072
Chet Wesley – Secretary-Treasurer, artsnb – firstname.lastname@example.org, 506-452-7782
Greg Toole, Public Relations Specialist, artsnb, email@example.com, 506-440-0037
The New Brunswick Arts Board is an arm’s length arts funding agency with a legislated mandate to facilitate and promote the creation of art as well as administering funding programs for professional artists in the province.
APPENDIX 1 – artsnb budget disclosure – FY 2014-2015:
|artsnb FUNDING SOURCES:
|Annual allotment from lottery proceeds||$700,000|
|Department of THC||$736,325||Includes $45,000 from its book policy.|
|Atlantic Public Arts Funders||$172,399||A separate budget managed for an event – Funds from ArtsNL, ArtsNS, PEICA, artsnb and Canada Council were received and delivered in service to the arts community of Atlantic Canada by hosting the first ever Petapan: First Light Symposium for Indigenous Artists – all arts boards have seen gradual increase in application and success rates in granting programs since. Financial management of funds from multiple jurisdictions would not be possible to administer were artsnb inside government.|
|Joint Economic Development Initiative||$34,906||Specifically for an aboriginal outreach employee|
|Other grants||$26,421||A result of operation efficiencies|
|Grants and Scholarships||$910,000||$10K of this budget is from Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation to pilot an international residency. Delivery of private funds would not be possible if artsnb were internal to government.|
|Aboriginal Outreach||$34,906||This budget from a JEDI grant; the balance from artsnb’s budget for workshops, travel and accommodations. Applying for alternative resources would not be possible if artsnb were internal to government.|
|Services to artists||$28,794||Jury fees, kilometers, Circle of Elders, Youth commission|
|Administration||$181,805||Accounting, communications and PR, general expenses, professional fees, translation and interpretation, travel, bank fees.|
|Board, committee, chair||$24,172||A decrease from the year prior by approx. $7,000|
|Lieutenant Governor Awards Gala||$12,541||Hosted at Government house|
|Other||$19,681||Professional development workshops, stakeholder meetings (trilevel, discipline-specific meetings, etc.)|
|Special initiatives||$4,560||Creative aging workshops, partnering with Atlantic Aging Institute|
|Salaries and benefits||$301,455||salaries, pensions, medical benefits for 5 fulltime staff (Executive Director, 2 program officers, Administrative Assistant, Public Relations Officer)|
|APAF||$172,399||For special event – Petapan: First Light Symposium|
Full budget disclosure is further detailed in the Annual Report, available online at artsnb.ca.
Additional support documents: