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Technology, indigenous and young artists focus of Canada Council strategic plan

Canada Council director Simon Brault

Canada Council director Simon Brault

The Canada Council for the Arts has released more details of its planned 2017 funding-model restructuring, with new money for aboriginal arts and digital initiatives, as well as a one-year fund aimed at celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary.

In a document titled Shaping a New Future, released April 26, the council spelled out its strategic plan stretching to 2021. It notes the need for quicker adaptation and transformation, and says its new programs will “address current realities and trends” and “nurture skills, build capacity, and help artists and arts organizations to realize their visions on their own terms.”

The plan’s four commitments include: increased support to artists and arts collectives and organizations, the use of digital technology to amplify the quality and sharing of Canadian art, a renewed relationship between indigenous artists and indigenous and non-indigenous audiences, and a raised international profile of Canadian art and artists.

Support of young artists was also mentioned prominently and repeatedly in the plan, stating that the council “must be open to new ways of working, and prepared for next-generation artists to work differently than their predecessors.”

A $33.4-million New Chapter fund for projects aimed at celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary over the next several years was also announced.

“The professional arts sector operates with limited financial stability or flexibility, which makes it vulnerable in today’s volatile economic environment,” the report said. “Just like other sectors, the arts need sound investment to be able to experiment, take risks and attain the highest level of artistic achievement, while also adapting to periodic economic downturns and challenges.”

The federal government in March said it plans to double the Canada Council’s budget over the next five years.