A recent blog posted here by yours truly questioned the idea that a strong arts & culture community is a direct economic development driver. Some of you took this to mean that I do not support the Bohemians. On the contrary, I am a huge supporter of the arts and I think a strong cultural identity is vital to a community’s growth over time.
As Statistics Canada has just released 2003 data on artistic industries in Canada, now might be a good time to assess how we are doing. Because you will undoubtedly never see this data in the local newspapers, you will have to wade through this painful blog once in a while to unearth a few real statistics.
As the table below shows, New Brunswick’s performing arts sector (music, theatre, dance and opera) is dead last in terms of theatre, music and opera revenues (adjusted for the size of the population). Now, some of this may be related to the fact we are a small province and cannot attract a lot of big productions. but that argument doesn’t hold when we compare to PEI, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, etc.
In my opinion, we should be able to do better than this.
But as with all things, it’s a matter of focus.