LET'S GET ARTS ON THE AGENDA
The Alberta Foundation for the Arts provides funding to Alberta artists and arts organizations to ensure every Albertan can access the arts. Yet its budget has been cut by 27% - almost $10 million - since 2009. This needs to be reversed, as government funding is essential for the arts to survive and thrive!
Join us in calling for party leaders to pledge to double the AFA budget over three years.
A doubled AFA budget is still less than one-tenth of one percent of Alberta’s budget! Let politicians know that you support the arts in Alberta and that the arts matter to voters. Click the link for a letter to be sent to the leaders of every party, and share this message.
VOTE ARTS ALBERTA - Arts Funding Responses from the NDP and UCP
Ahead of the 2023 election, the Rozsa Foundation joined the Nonprofit Vote to campaign for increased provincial arts funding via the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA). Both Danielle Smith and Rachel Notley were asked about the deterioration of the AFA budget line over the last few years and what their party plans were regarding arts funding moving forward. Here are their responses:
At the Nonprofit Vote event in April, Rachel Notley acknowledged that while they had initially committed to investing in the arts in 2015 and began well with a $5 million increase in the first year of their mandate, they did cut the budget back in every year following. Notley explained that budgets everywhere had to be trimmed as oil prices tumbled. Looking forward to the next four years, she acknowledged the importance of Alberta arts and culture, but was non-commital regarding firm investment amounts.
However, after receiving hundreds of emails from the Vote Arts Alberta campaign, the NDP released a statement saying that they had "heard the arts community" and would commit to investing $74 million into the arts and culture sector over the next three years. This would be the largest provincial investment in the arts community in Alberta's history. Their website now includes the following message:
"We will invest in arts and culture as part of our broader plans to revitalize downtown cores and rural communities.
This will include:
50% increase in funding for Alberta Foundation for the Arts
A standalone Arts Capital Grants Program to support a range of projects in urban centres
Creating a Live Entertainment Advisory Council to showcase and amplify Alberta talent, and coordinate and attract world-class shows and events to Alberta.
Our province is a vibrant and dynamic place to live thanks to the amazing performers and creators who call Alberta home.
We are committed to increasing arts funding as part of our plan to build a better future.
This is critical for the fabric of our province, and to our economy."
UCP of Alberta
Danielle Smith was asked the same question about the continued diminished budget for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. She also acknowledged the importance of the arts and culture in the province, especially as it relates to economic investment and talent recruitment.
Smith expressed an interest in several possible avenues to improve support for the arts community. She pointed to the success of the film and television industry's tax credit program and was open to receiving proposals from the arts community that would build a funding system based on the Film and Television Tax Credit (FTTC). She also considered different ways to acknowledge and encourage volunteerism in the non-profit sector, and potential donation-matching programs, but did not make any firm financial commitments nor mention the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Vote for Alberta Arts!
We urge you to include the arts and culture of the province among the many important issues to be addressed in this election. The many budget cuts and decline of provincial funding despite dramatic increases in population and inflation simply must be addressed.
Regardless of the outcome, it will be important to hold the elected political party accountable for any commitments made and continue to advocate for provincial arts funding. This governmental support is vital to the health and vitality of the arts and culture community in Alberta, which in turn is essential to the future prosperity of the province.
Thank you for your amazing support in sending emails to each party on this issue. With your help, we at the Rozsa Foundation will continue to advocate for a strong and vibrant arts community in Alberta.
The facts are stark.
In the last 14 years:
Alberta’s expense budget has increased from $36.7 billion to $65.6 billion (up 86.1%)
Provincial inflation has risen by 33.7%
Alberta’s population has grown by 26%
Arts funding has been cut by over $9 million, down by 26.6%.
Sources available on request!
Our ask: Double the AFA budget over three years.
Doubling the AFA budget over the next three years would barely affect the bottom line, yet it would have a significant positive impact on our province. Investing in the arts will help to build a stronger, more vibrant, and more prosperous Alberta.
Millions of Albertans are impacted by the above programs and the arts sector in Alberta.
Government funding is crucial to the arts sector across Canada, providing over 1/3 of annual revenues.
Without proper funding, these experiences, careers, mental health supports, and education opportunities are in jeopardy, as Alberta talent is forced to leave the province or the profession.
If you agree that the arts in Alberta are worth funding, join us in calling for party leaders to pledge to increase the AFA budget.
We are appealing to all Alberta parties.
VoteArtsAB is nonpartisan effort led by Rozsa Foundation and Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations. The campaign and materials are not intended to endorse or oppose candidates or political parties.
Upon filling out the email form linked below, your letter will be sent to all of the leaders of Alberta’s provincial parties. You can use the letter provided or customize it as you see fit.
If you would like to contact someone about this campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.