Struts & Owens galleries call for more municipal investment in arts & culture

Paul Henderson (Struts) & Emily Falvey (Owens) appearing before town council

The directors of Sackville’s Struts and Owens art galleries are calling on the new Town of Tantramar to increase funding for arts and culture groups in 2023.

During a joint presentation to Sackville Town Council last week, Paul Henderson and Emily Falvey argued that investments in arts and culture pay huge dividends.

They cited a 2019 study from Oxford Economics showing, for example, that non-profit galleries, libraries, archives and museums in Canada generate nearly $4 in social benefits for every $1 invested in them.

Falvey says the returns for Sackville’s municipal investments have been even higher.

“The Owens’ annual operating grant from the town last year was $1,000, but we provided Sackville with $160,000 worth of exhibitions, arts education and community outreach projects and events,” she told council.

“For every dollar the town spent on the Owens in 2021-2022, it got $160 in benefits and that doesn’t include all the indirect benefits to tourism and the local economy that came from our programs — and the same is true for Struts,” she said.

Falvey, who made the presentation to council on behalf of both galleries, also referred to a report published in 2019, showing that, according to Statistics Canada, New Brunswick’s arts and culture sector generated nearly $1 billion in economic output in 2017 and contributed $550 million to New Brunswick’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), higher than other key sectors such as agriculture, the pulp and paper industry, seafood production or mining.

The StatsCan figures also show that New Brunswick’s arts and culture sector employed 7,570 people in 2017, 1,600 fewer than in 2010.

“When a business thrives, you invest in it and a few people get richer,” Falvey told council.

“When you invest in arts and culture, the entire community gets richer.”

Mayor Mesheau thanked Falvey and Henderson for their presentation.

“That’s incredible, that information,” Mesheau said. “It’s definitely an eyeopener.”

For previous Warktimes coverage of recommendations from the Premier’s Task Force on improving artists’ status and economic security, click here.

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10 Responses to Struts & Owens galleries call for more municipal investment in arts & culture

  1. Percy Best says:

    With the control of our future Town of Tantramar’s budget being taken over by the dictatorial ‘invasive force’ from Fredericton, perhaps Paul Henderson and Emily Falvey should be addressing their request to the new management.

    I am not referring to the soon to be elected new Mayor and Council that will have very little say concerning distribution of our taxpayer funds. I am really not to sure what power the new Mayor and Council will actually have, as it certainly will not be what we have enjoyed in the past.

    Will their role actually be as low as the diminished level that our elected representatives to our Health, as well as our Education sector, currently have?

  2. Christian Corbet says:

    When a major US movie company came to Sackville last month, the mayor did nothing for us. He didn’t wish to honour two world-leading scientists for coming here and didn’t seem to comprehend that over 200 million viewers will be made aware of our town, so in turn, the movie company decided to omit the town’s name altogether from the film. That is what we are dealing with here.

    • Mathew says:

      Wow! What is the name of the movie?

    • Sharon Hicks says:

      Christian … this is something i think most of us didn’t know anything about … could you perhaps give us a little more information? … What major movie company? What two leading scientists? What are their fields of expertise? What film? What was the subject matter? It would be nice to learn more about this … it sounds intriguing ??

  3. Wayne Feindel:- Puppet of the People. says:

    People, people ! The mayor is the slave of council. Editorializing presentations beyond thanking the presenters for the an excellent presentation is the role of council. The mayor may open councils eyes at the committee level where the mayor is exofficio member.

  4. Kata List Productions says:

    Thanks for the coverage Bruce. I will continue to advertise your site around town so that more people see your efforts to cover the stories specific to our “Tantramarshire” region of folks.
    May the Struts and Owens people receive the money they need to keep things going.

  5. Janet Hammock says:

    Paul Henderson and Emily Falvey have done exactly the right thing. They have highlighted to Council, and to those who take the time to listen to the Council Meetings, the importance of the arts in our NB communities, and have drawn attention to the fact that increased support of the arts and artists makes tremendous business sense.

    Bruce Wark has included links to two recent enormously informative, imperative-reading reports. I must admit that I had previously only skimmed these reports. As a musician I have been only too aware of the upsetting nature of the almost unbelievable, factual information in reports such as these. But these particular reports — comprehensive, compelling and urgent in what they tell us — are situated right here in NB, and that makes all the difference.

    The background to the Falvey/Henderson presentation to Council is clearly written in these two reports, and I would urge readers to read them. As the Mayor said in response to the Falvey/Henderson presentation, the information is “incredible”. I believe he saw with open eyes the possibilities inherent in an intentional decision on the part of our Council to step up and do its part to address the deplorable “support” now given to artists and public institutions. We have a mandate from the Provincial Government to do just that.

    As we move into a governmental transition period this is exactly the right time to bring up this issue. Again. And again. And again. Issues not spoken about in public, as Falvey and Henderson just did, will be issues again not addressed. And the arts, and those who create, will continue to remain in last place.

  6. Will says:

    Sorry we don’t need to spend even more taxpayer dollars on arts and weather vanes (what was CO2 emissions for shipping that to sackville lol)… it’s not a role for govt. this is not “investment” but it’s a nice political buzzword. why does everyone look to the nanny state to solve all their problems. Start a youtube channel and a Patreon page and get funding from patrons who love your artwork.

  7. B says:

    I agree as disagree…. the municipality and the taxpayers here are pretty cash strapped and as someone who manages a local museum organization, I think the funding should come from higher levels of government. There is a ton of funding at the provincial and federal government levels for arts, culture, and museums and this is funding other businesses would never have access to. These programs are available, and, in the end, the economic benefit would be the same regardless at what level the funding comes from. It is a hard sell at the municipal level, I think is always will be. People want roads fixed, infrastructure upgraded, and basic services maintained the fact is, there is just not a lot of funding to go around at the municipal level.

  8. Kata List Productions says:

    Special Council Meeting on Youtube for the Town of Sackville that Bruce Wark is reporting on for ease of reference is linked below in this comment… maybe Bruce could add a button to this website to link to the Youtube Channel for the Town? Thanks again… the grant writing work is just one way to gather funds… I like Will Kriski’s idea of a Patreon account or some sort of independant fundraiser efforts – helps to think outside the box. Shelly Chase at The Levee on the Lake really does seem to have a lot of good ideas to get things done around here and to be honest I always enjoy hearing from her – she is extremely bright – at the Town Hall presentations.

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