Call to Action: Let’s go for the win!

Status quo is not a victory. Let’s go for the win!

The arts community’s mobilisation against cuts to arts funding has shed light on how the sector is already underfunded. Following our presentations to HRM Council, some councilors are considering putting forward a proposal to increase funding rather than cutting it. But that can’t happen without support from a majority of councilors in favour of an increase.

We know that at least 6 out of 16 councilors are thinking about it, but we need 9 in favour to get a majority for the vote on Wednesday, February 22.

Please help us make that home stretch toward a real victory for the arts in HRM! Write to your councilor requesting an increase this year of $125,000 for Professional Arts Grants and another $125,000 increase next fiscal year as outlined in the 2018 recommendations from the Arts Halifax Committee.

We’re looking, in particular, for letters from constituents of the following districts to be sending letters to their councilors in favour of an increase:

Districts 1 (Cathy Deagle Gammon), 2 (David Hendsbee), 3 (Becky Kent), 4 (Trish Purdy), 6 (Tony Mancini), 9 (Shawn Cleary), 12 (Iona Stoddard), 14 (Lisa Blackburn), 15 (Paul Russell), 16 (Tim Outhit).

Find contact information for your councilor here.

Please send your email before HRM Council meets again on Wednesday, February 22.

We have momentum. This is a winnable fight!

Economic Talking Points:

  • Arts organisations provide full- and part-time employment for more than 1,300 citizens in Halifax.
  • Arts organisations generate, collectively, more than $23 million in revenue—most of which they spend in their communities. They pay employees and artists, they spend money on materials and tools, they spend money printing programs, posters and tshirts, they hire photographers and publicists and caterers, they spend money in local hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses.
  • The arts encourage revenue in the service industry such as restaurants, bars and hotels. The arts also encourage tourism, make it attractive for professionals from other sectors (such as doctors) to establish themselves here with their families, and helps prevent the out-migration of youth and professionals.
  • Halifax’s investment lags far behind other municipalities across Canada, at just $1.16 per capita, compared to a national median of $7.16 per capita
  • Halifax prides and markets itself on a vibrant artistic and cultural life. That life requires financial investment on the part of Halifax Regional Council.


Social/Emotional Talking Points:

  • Arts organisations in Halifax provide engagement opportunities for about a thousand volunteers each year.
  • We reach more than 295,000 people every year, of all ages, from all walks of life, and in communities throughout the region. This number is expected to increase greatly as we continue to re-emerge from pandemic conditions.
  • An inquiry conducted by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Well-Being and Health found that “Arts engagement can mitigate the social determinants of health by influencing perinatal mental health and child cognitive development; shaping educational and employment opportunities and compensating for work-related stress; building individual resilience and enhancing communities.”
  • A 2021 study by Hill Strategies revealed that “Arts and culture activities have a strong statistical connection with overall health. Attendees or participants in all 15 arts, culture, and heritage activities are more likely to report very good or excellent health than non-attendees or non-participants. For 14 of the 15 activities, the differences are statistically significant, including arts activities such as: active arts participation; live theatre or comedy attendance; classical and popular music attendance; cultural festival attendance; art gallery attendance; and book reading.” Similar results were revealed in the connection between participation in the arts and mental health.
  • Talk about your personal connection to arts organisations and events in Halifax!