News release

Province Supports Arts Sector with New Legislation

Nova Scotia recognizes the role that arts and culture play in making Nova Scotia communities vibrant. Legislation introduced today, Dec. 1, will establish Arts Nova Scotia and formalize the structure and mandate of the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council.

Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister David Wilson introduced the two pieces of legislation, acting on commitments in the province's five-point plan to support the arts and culture sector.

"Artistic expression celebrates our diverse culture and contributes to the quality of life enjoyed by Nova Scotia families," said Mr. Wilson. "Arts and culture spur creativity and innovation which makes communities better places to live and build a future."

Arts Nova Scotia is an independent body that will oversee provincial government funding that goes directly to artists and will be established in legislation. The province will appoint an interim board to carry out transition to Arts Nova Scotia early in 2012.

A second bill to formalize the structure and mandate of the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council underlines the importance of the sector-led group in advising the province and leading the development of a cultural strategy for Nova Scotia, as mandated by the five-point plan.

Pam Birdsall, MLA for Lunenburg and ministerial assistant for Communities, Culture and Heritage, chaired a transition committee of sector members that recommended the structure, mandate and membership for Arts Nova Scotia.

Ms. Birdsall is a founding member of the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council and the former Mahone Bay Business Association, now the Mahone Bay and Area Chamber of Commerce. She is the co-owner of Birdsall-Worthington Pottery Ltd. and has a strong connection to the arts and culture community.

Arts Nova Scotia will administer $2.4 million in provincial grant funding that goes directly to artists.

"The province has listened to the voices of the arts and culture sector and is acting on the priorities identified by them to help our creative economy grow," said Mr. Wilson.

Other transition members were:

  • Paul Caskey, artistic director with Live Art Dance Productions
  • Leah Hamilton, an arts consultant with Genesis Consulting
  • Christopher Shore, executive director of Theatre Nova Scotia

"We were very pleased with the independence and support we were given in our process of developing recommendations for Arts Nova Scotia," said Leah Hamilton. "We believe the resulting legislation provides the structure for a strong arts funding body and look forward to seeing the Arts Nova Scotia board build on the foundation established today."

A copy of the committee's report is available at under What's New.

The Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council has begun its work on a cultural strategy by reviewing literature about the creative economy and has formed a sub-committee of sector members to advise government on Status of the Artist legislation to reflect the importance of arts and culture to Nova Scotians.

"With the introduction of legislation for Arts Nova Scotia and Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, government has shown that the arts and culture sector is an intrinsic part of the fabric of this province," said Ron Bourgeois, chair of the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council. "These pieces of legislation help promote the development of the entire sector."

Status of the Artist legislation is expected to be introduced next year.


The province introduced legislation today (December 1st) to establish Arts Nova Scotia, an independent body to administer funding for individual artists and cultural organizations that support them.

The mandate and structure of the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, a group of sector members who advise the provincial government on arts and culture policy and programs, is being formalized in legislation also introduced today.


Media Contact:

Michael Noonan
Communities, Culture and Heritage 902-424-1593 Cell: 902-478-8596 E-mail: