Saskatchewan Arts Board
The Saskatchewan Arts Board is an arms-length funding agency that provides grants, programs and services to individuals and groups whose activities have an impact on the arts and the people of Saskatchewan. Established by the Government of Saskatchewan in 1948, it was the first agency of its kind in Canada.
The professional and management staff of the Arts Board provides consultation services in a variety of areas including community and organizational development, research, information, advocacy and communications. In addition, the Arts Board is involved in a number of partnerships and co-operative arrangements with like-minded organizations and manages the world's largest collection of art objects exclusively by Saskatchewan artists.
The importance of the input and feedback of the community it serves is a priority throughout the Arts Board's operations and is formalized within the Arts Board Act, 1997. Although officially appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council, one-third of the members of the Arts Board’s board of directors is chosen from a list of nominees provided by the arts community. This process assists in ensuring the Arts Board is representative of the thoughts, ideas and directions of the community itself. The board reports to the province’s minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
The establishment of the Saskatchewan Arts Board by Order in Council in 1948 and the Arts Board Act in 1949 signified a major development for the arts in Saskatchewan and North America. Outside the United Kingdom, where the British Arts Council had just been established, the Arts Board was the first of many: a public arts agency operating and granting funds at "arms length" from government.
The creation of the Arts Board was one of several cultural initiatives undertaken by the government of T.C. Douglas. It was part of the government's larger program of building a public infrastructure to enable individual growth and self-realization. It was based on the Premier's belief that "the people of the Prairies are hungry ... for things of the mind and the spirit: good music, literature, paintings and folk songs. This was why the Arts Board was established."
In 1948, there was little professional arts activity in the Province, and many organizations operated without staff. The Arts Board rapidly launched a number of programs to make the arts available to the people of Saskatchewan and to stimulate artistic growth. Several high-profile initiatives engaged the community and caught the attention of the media, particularly outreach programs and tours aimed at smaller towns and villages, workshops to improve artistic standards and programs to raise public awareness. By 1968, the Arts Board had a unique Permanent Collection, the School of the Arts at Fort San, and consulting services and grant programs, which became the agency's signature functions.
In the early 1970s, the Government made two decisions which had a profound affect on the Board future. Firstly, the Province created the Department of Culture and Youth in 1972. Then in 1974, it established the provincial lottery system, a portion of the profits from which were dedicated to culture. This system strengthened groups dedicated to community participation and arts education and service organizations such as the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. However, it posed an ongoing challenge to the development of a unified policy and leadership for the arts in the Province. It contributed to the ongoing and sometimes heated debate about "professional and amateur" in the arts and, as lottery revenues increased rapidly, challenged the government to provide increased support to the Arts Board.
The cultural landscape had changed enormously since 1948, in no small measure due to the Arts Board. The Board's early decision to concentrate on raising artistic standards had resulted in an ever-expanding number of practicing artists and arts organizations worthy of public support. With the availability of lottery money for activity that had formerly been its responsibility, the Arts Board entered a phase in the mid-70s characterized by much greater attention to the growing needs of practicing artists and arts organizations. This strategy responded to the shift in the arts in Saskatchewan, but it did result in the Board loosening its ties to organizations and activities that had previously occupied a large portion of its time. It also fostered a perception that the Board had lessened its interest in its development and community-based mandate, a perception that Board began to address as it went into its fifth decade.
This shift and its impact substantially influenced the third phase of the Board's history, from 1990 to the present: the restoration of the Arts Board as the Province's single arts agency and a unified focus for provincial arts policy and funding. In 1990, this idea found full voice as the key recommendation of the Provincial Government's Arts Strategy Task Force, but it remains only a vision at this point. The Task Force Report did lead to the proclamation of a new Act in 1998 that emphasized a broader application of its powers and responsibilities, particularly in the areas of arts and education, cultural industries and Aboriginal arts. This last area had been previously addressed by the Board, but it was not until the late 90s that formal steps were taken to meet the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal artists. The new Act also spoke to the concept of peer assessment and community input into board selection and the development of the Board's operating policies and programs.
In 2004, approaching the Province's Centennial and closing in on its 60th anniversary, the Board directed support to 99 artists, 45 organizations and 47 projects for a total of over $5.3 million. Recipients of its grants constitute a who's who of Saskatchewan artists. The opportunities for the arts in Saskatchewan and the Board are many: an ever-expanding community of artists; global markets for Saskatchewan artists; new technologies; and, the changing demographics of Saskatchewan. Its mission statement, fashioned in 2000, commits the Board to cultivating an environment where the arts will thrive for the benefit of everyone in Saskatchewan, a task that allows it to respond to emerging needs and opportunities while keeping faith with the visionaries who brought the Board into existence and nurtured its early years.
Arts Funding Programs
The Arts Board offers several funding opportunities to individuals and organizations, including:
- Creative Industries
- Creative Partnerships (formerly Artist in Residence Grant)
- Culture on the Go: Touring and Market Development
- Independent Artists Grant
- Indigenous Pathways Initiative - Grants to Artists
- Professional Arts Organizations Program
- Provincial Cultural Organization Grant
- SaskFestivals Grant
- Show Us Your North
- Travel Grant
The Arts Board also administers grant and award programs in partnership with other agencies:
The Arts Board offers a scholarship for students in the arts:
The Arts Board's Permanent Collection is a unique collection of art by Saskatchewan artists. It includes nearly 3,000 works of art in all media by more than 600 artists and is the largest body of work by Saskatchewan artists in the world. The Permanent Collection presents a vision of the province as seen through the eyes of hundreds of artists, innovative and traditional, emerging and established. It also preserves part of Saskatchewan's artistic history, and gives people the opportunity to appreciate Saskatchewan artwork in their communities and daily lives.
The Arts Board makes the Permanent Collection accessible by bringing it to the people of the province in their workplaces, schools and communities. Works form the collection are loaned to galleries and other venues around the province and country for exhibitions, film production, broadcast and publication opportunities. The Arts Board's Saskatchewan...Our Place poster kits were created to help teachers raise awareness about Saskatchewan art and artists in schools. The Arts Board's Art Rental program brings highly regarded artwork right into the office.
Art Rental clients are Saskatchewan government departments, agencies, crown corporations, boards, commissions and the corporate sector. Non-profit organizations and institutions may also rent art from the Saskatchewan Arts Board's Permanent Collection.
Arts Board staff provides expertise and advice to clients, meeting them at their offices to asses needs and recommend display locations. Clients may select art from a wide variety of paintings, drawings, textiles, prints, photographs and sculptures in the Arts Board's Permanent Collection. Arts Board professionals install the artworks, and clean and repair them as required. The Saskatchewan Arts Board also covers insurance and some transportation costs. Information on how to rent art is available here.
Lieutenant Governor's Arts Awards
On the occasion of its 40th anniversary in 1988, the Arts Board established the Lifetime Award for Excellence in the Arts. The award honours Saskatchewan individuals whose accomplishments have had a major impact on the arts provincially, nationally and internationally.
In 2004, the awards program expanded and the Arts Board established the Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards to recognize the achievements made by individuals, groups and organizations in the arts.
In celebration of Saskatchewan’s Centennial in 2005, the Co-operators commissioned an original piece of artwork by Joe Fafard that will be awarded to Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards recipients for years to come. In addition to the artwork, all award recipients receive a cash prize. Award categories include Lifetime Achievement, 30 Below, Leadership, Arts and Learning, and Saskatchewan Artist.
Past recipients of the Lieutenant Governor's Arts Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Arts are found here.
Annual Art Exhibitions
The Arts Board makes the Permanent Collection accessible by bringing it to the people of the province in their workplaces, schools and communities. Works form the collection are loaned to galleries and other venues around the province and country for exhibitions, film production, broadcast and publication opportunities.
- Annual art exhibitions and artists-in-residence collaborative exhibitions at the Canadian Western Agribition, the Queen City Ex and the Saskatoon Ex
- Annual exhibitions at the Lieutenant Governor's Arts Awards
- Mayor's Arts and Business Awards (Regina)
- YWCA Women of Distinction Awards (Regina and Saskatoon)
Supporting Indigenous Artists
Grant Programs for Indigenous Artists
- The Indigenous Pathways Initiative – Grants to Artists is designed to increase participation in, and access to public funding by Indigenous artists in the province. The Indigenous Pathways Initiative seeks to address these issues while also increasing public access to high-quality Indigenous art.
One or more of the grants provided by this program may be funded through the 2005 Canada Games Building Dreams and Champions Legacy Program: Emerging Aboriginal Artists Award. This initiative provides support to young emerging Aboriginal artists in the province who are just starting out on a career path in the arts.
Clearing a Path: An Exhibition of Traditional Indigenous Art
Clearing a Path was first launched in fall 2005 and has been appreciated by thousands of people across the province and premiered on a world stage at the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad in February 2009. The exhibit includes close to 30 works by 20 artists, celebrates the talent of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous artists working in traditional media and features a wide range of Indigenous art forms, including carving and bead and quill work. The artwork itself is made from traditional materials gathered in Saskatchewan and is an expression of Indigenous cultural practices that are unique to the province and not found anywhere else in the world.
Exhibit Locations and Dates:
- First Nations University of Canada Gallery (Regina Campus) – Nov. to Dec. 2005
- Wanuskewin Heritage Park Gallery – Dec. 2005 to Feb. 2006
- Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils Tour – Apr. 2006 to Apr. 2008
- Regina International Airport – June to Nov. 2008
- Talking Stick Festival, Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad – Feb. 2009
- 2009 Buffalo Days – the Queen City Ex – Aug. 2009
- RCMP Heritage Museum, Regina – Nov. 2009 to Mar. 2010
In 2004, the Saskatchewan Arts Board piloted a new program, the Indigenous Pathways Initiative - Traditional Arts Grant. It was the first in a series of programs designed by the Arts Board to increase participation and access to its public funding by the Indigenous artists of the province.
The purpose of the Traditional Arts Grant program is to facilitate access to funding by Indigenous cultural workers: Indigenous artists, whose work is primarily in a traditional cultural art medium such as beading, birch bark biting, dancing, storytelling, drumming etc. Two objectives of the Traditional Arts Grant program are to raise the profile of traditional arts and artists working in a traditional media and support traditional art that is passed from one generation to the next.
During one of the initial peer assessment juries (a panel of Indigenous artists with expertise in the appropriate art forms), a recommendation was made that all the new artwork created through this grant should be promoted and put on display, helping to achieve two of the programs objectives: the general public would have access to this unique work, and the artists who have worked in obscurity for most of their lives would be recognized. In addition, the work could also be shared with Indigenous artists from different areas, creating an artistic exchange.
It was acknowledged that these arts forms are often relegated to the category of “craft” and not recognized by western European tradition as “real art.” So, the Arts Board developed an exhibition of work by recipients of the Traditional Arts Grant that would challenge people’s perceptions, while providing increased visibility for Indigenous traditional art.
In summer 2005, curators Sherry Farrell-Racette and Carmen Robertson were hired to select the art work for the show, and a partnership with the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils ensured the exhibition would be widely toured in the province. In Nov. 2005, Clearing a Path: An Exhibition of Traditional Indigenous Arts opened at the First Nations University of Canada Gallery in Regina. With an impressive review by Leader-Post Arts Critic Jack Anderson and several feature interviews on CBC and APTN, the show continued to gain momentum and moved to Wanuskewin Heritage Park for a two-month run. Bookings for the OSAC tour immediately filled up and the demand for the show was so great that the Arts Board extended the exhibition touring dates another year. Upon expiration of the tour, the show was re-curated for the Regina International Airport, where it showed until Nov. 30, 2008.
Clearing a Path then premiered on a world stage at the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad in February 2009 as Saskatchewan’s inaugural event at the Olympics. After this milestone event, the exhibit moved on to 2009 Buffalo Days in Regina in August 2009 and on to the RCMP Heritage Centre until March 2010.
A catalogue of the works in the exhibit was prepared for the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad and is available for sale.
A second exhibition curated by Carmen Robertson and Sherry Farrell-Racette, Cherished Things, had its national debut at Harbourfront Centre's Love, Saskatchewan festival in Toronto in July 2010. Cherished Things is a dynamic exhibition that thoughtfully examines the relationship between traditional and contemporary Indigenous art practices in Saskatchewan. It brings together exquisitely crafted objects either produced through grants from the Arts Board or drawn from the Arts Board’s Permanent Collection. Cherished Things was also featured at the Saskatoon EX in August 2010.
The Saskatchewan Arts Board's Creative Industries programs focus on investing in creativity: in people, businesses and organizations. The program's vision is a thriving, valued and connected creative economy in Saskatchewan; its mission is to support and stimulate the development and growth of the creative industries to enhance their contributions to the economy and vitality of the province of Saskatchewan; and its goals are:
- to create broad public awareness and recognition of Saskatchewan's Creative Industries and their positive impacts
- to develop and support creative enterprise and innovation
- to enable conditions in which Saskatchewan 's creative industries reach their full potential.
Flexible Loan Program
In March 2010, the Saskatchewan Arts Board announced the Flexible Loan Program, a $1.15 million initiative of the Arts Board and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport. This new financial resource will increase the entrepreneurial and economic capacity of artists, businesses and non-profits in the craft, music and sound recording, publishing, and visual arts sectors. The loan program offers short-term, low-interest, demand loans of up to $25,000 for eligible commercial sector activity. Loans are approved based on a viable business plan/proposal.
Entrepreneurial Training Program (Pilot, 2010)
In 2010, the Saskatchewan Arts Board launched the Entrepreneurial Training Program, a pilot based on the Cultural Human Resources Council curriculum, The Art of Managing Your Career. The program provided self-employed artists with skills, tools, self-awareness and networking resources to help them turn their art practices into sustainable, revenue-generating businesses. This project was funded by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour.
Creative Industries Entrepreneurship Training Course
Based on the success of the 2010 Entrepreneurial Training Program pilot project, the Arts Board launched the Creative Industries Entrepreneurship Training Course in 2012. Offered in partnership with ideas inc, the course is based on the Cultural Human Resources Council curriculum, The Art of Managing Your Career, as well as the book, Business Model Generation, by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. The course assists Saskatchewan artists and creative industries entrepreneurs to develop sustainable, careers or creative industries ventures in the province of Saskatchewan.
Creative Industries Sector Organizations Contribution
Through a negotiated, partnership-driven process, annual contributions are provided to the identified Creative Industries Sector Organizations (CISOs) for operations and program activities that align with the aims of the Creative Industries Growth and Sustainability Program agreement.
Click here for a list of CISOs.
Creative Industries Transition Fund
This short-term fund provides project support to Saskatchewan artists, professional arts organizations, companies, producers and creative industry sector organizations so they may pursue strategic initiatives that advance clearly-defined market development and distribution goals and objectives for Saskatchewan commercial cultural products. It also provides support for screen-based media productions that demonstrate market interest. The fund is a one-time resource available during the period of transition to a proposed new agency that will serve the creative industries in Saskatchewan. The Creative Industries Transition Fund is administered by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and funded by the Government of Saskatchewan through an agreement with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.
The Saskatchewan Arts Board partners with other organizations to fund some of its grant programs:
- ArtsSmarts: ArtsSmarts is a program of ArtsSmarts Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Arts Board, Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, SaskCulture and ArtsSmarts/GénieArts) with support from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation and program partners.
- Creative Partnerships: The Creative Partnerships Grant program is administered by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and funded by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation through a partnership with SaskCulture.
- Culture on the Go: Culture on the Go grants are made possible through funding provided to the Saskatchewan Arts Board by the Government of Saskatchewan, through the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport.
- Professional Arts Organizations Program: The Professional Arts Organizations Program is administered by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and funded by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation through a partnership with SaskCulture.
- Provincial Cultural Organizations: The Provincial Cultural Organization program is administered by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and funded by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation through a partnership with SaskCulture.
- SaskFestivals: The SaskFestivals Grant program is administered by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and funded in partnership with SaskCulture and the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.
- Show Us Your North: Show us Your North is administered by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and funded through a partnership with the Ministry of Education, SaskCulture and the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.
The Saskatchewan Arts Board also partners with organizations and businesses to bring artwork into the community and make the work of Saskatchewan artists accessible to the people of the province. Partnerships also give community members the opportunity to be directly involved in the process of making art.
Since 2007, the Saskatchewan Arts Board has partnered with the Canadian Western Agribition to have an Artist in Residence work with school children who attend Agribition, to create a large-scale art installation. Daily photos of the installations are taken and posted on the Arts Board's website so people can track the progress of the artwork as it grows. An exhibition featuring art from the Arts Board's Permanent Collection is also featured.
The Saskatchewan Arts Board began partnering with the Queen City Ex in 2009 to have an artist-in-residence to work with people attending the exhibition to create a large-scale collaborative art installation. Photos of the installation in progress are on the Arts Board's website. An exhibition featuring art from the Arts Board's Permanent Collection is also featured.
In 2010, the Saskatchewan Arts Board began partnering with the Saskatoon EX to have an artist-in-residence to work with people attending the exhibition to create a large-scale collaborative art installation. An exhibition featuring art from the Arts Board's Permanent Collection is also featured.
- Legislative Building 100th Anniversary Artist Residency
As part of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building 100th Anniversary celebration in 2012, eight Saskatchewan artists are exploring the history and significance of the Legislative Building through community engagement and the creation of permanent legacy artwork.
The artist-in-residence program is part of the province's year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building and has been developed in partnership with the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Under the guidance of artist-in-residence coordinator Laura Hale, who will also serve as a resident artist, the participants will explore the history and significance of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building through their own artistic disciplines.
Each artist will host a community engaged project to encourage cultural exchange at the Legislative Building and will also create a work of art that will be displayed in one of the alcoves in the Rotunda of the Legislative Building. The artwork will be unveiled in December 2012.
The artists are:
- Laura Hale - Tisdale
- Robert Assie - Saskatoon
- Heather Cline - Regina
- Allan Dotson - Regina
- Terri Fidelak - Regina
- Miranda Jones - Saskatoon
- Sandra Ledingham - Saskatoon
- Anita Smith - Saskatoon.
For bios of the artists-in-residence and information on the projects they will understake during their residencies, visit the Saskatchewan Legislative Building's 100th anniversary website.
A request for proposals resulted in a number of excellent submissions. The artists were selected by the project steering committee made up of members of the Provincial Capital Commission; Parks, Culture and Sport; Central Services and the Saskatchewan Arts Board in co-ordination with the artist co-ordinator.
This artist-in-residence initiative is funded through the Creative Partnerships program, which is delivered by the Saskatchewan Arts Board in collaboration with SaskCulture Inc., through funding from the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.
- Artists in the Community
In 2006, Saskatoon was designated a Cultural Capital of Canada, on the basis of a number of exciting projects, including one that gave community-based organizations an opportunity to work with artists.
The Artists in the Community project ran from October 2006 to September 2007. It was presented by the Saskatchewan Arts Board in collaboration with the City of Saskatoon, with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Cultural Capitals of Canada program. The Saskatchewan Arts Board acknowledges the funding support of SaskCulture Inc. and SaskLotteries Trust for its Artist in Residence programs.
Eight community-based residencies were selected from a broad variety of sectors within Saskatoon. Organizational staff, volunteers, community members, managers, and organization clientele had the unique opportunity to work with an artist for six to nine months.
Artists in the Community encouraged collaboration and connections between diverse groups within the city and explored the relationship between creativity and place. The project increased access to art and culture, built capacity in local groups, and helped to create an environment to nurture and sustain a creative community in Saskatoon.
The Artists in the Community project was presented by the Saskatchewan Arts Board in collaboration with the City of Saskatoon, with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Cultural Capitals of Canada program, a program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Saskatchewan Arts Board acknowledges the funding support of SaskCulture Inc. and SaskLotteries Trust for its Artist in Residence programs.
- Art at Work
In 2004, the City of Regina was awarded the designation Cultural Capital of Canada. One of the city’s many exciting projects was an innovative Art At Work program that would see professional artists working within the business environment. Given the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s long-standing experience administering artist residency programs within the province, the Arts Board was pleased to partner with the City of Regina to administer Art At Work.
Art at Work residencies offered a diverse range of opportunities such as workshops for staff, public events/open studios, and collaborative planning processes, as well as artists’ personal projects. Ten Regina workplaces recruited artists to animate their diverse organizations with the goal of making Regina one of the most compelling places to work in Canada. Employers, their staff and, in some cases, customers had the opportunity to experience workplaces through a creative lens while developing an array of unique, transferable skills. This project nurtured the creative spirit in all Regina residents and exemplified the benefits of creating partnerships between the arts and other sectors.
The Art At Work project was presented by the Saskatchewan Arts Board, in collaboration with the City of Regina, with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Cultural Capitals of Canada program, a program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
100 Years of Heart: Celebrating Saskatchewan's Centennial
The Saskatchewan Arts Board was involved in celebrating Saskatchewan's Centennial in 2005 with two important projects:
- Centennial Commissions Project: To celebrate the Saskatchewan Centennial, the Saskatchewan Arts Board commissioned the design, creation, and installation of four large-scale, permanent, outdoor artworks in four Saskatchewan gateway communities: Estevan (Spinning Prairie by Jefferson Little); Lloydminster (Sky Dance by Douglas Bentham); Yorkton (Doorways to Opportunity by Lionel Peyachew) and LaRonge (Portage by Chris St. Amand).
- Saskatchewan Centennial Mural Project: The Province of Saskatchewan designated funding for the creation of a large mural in the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. An important objective of the 2005 Saskatchewan Centennial Mural Project is to create an artwork that is reflective of the experiences of Indigenous Peoples of Northern Saskatchewan. The painting was installed in the rotunda of the Legislative building and has become a key architectural and artistic highlight in the Legislative Building and an important opportunity to present the stories and way of life of Northern Saskatchewan Aboriginal people. Roger Jerome, a Métis artist who lives in Air Ronge, designed and painted the mural, Northern Tradition and Transition.
Klages, Gregory. 2012. "By Artists, for Artists? Creating the Saskatchewan Arts Board and Canada Council." Saskatchewan History 64/1 (Spring/Summer), pgs. 38-49.
Riddell, W.A. 1979. Cornerstone For Culture: A History of the Saskatchewan Arts Board from 1948 to 1978. Regina: Saskatchewan Arts Board.