Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
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Strategic Framework


ArtsNL is a non-profit Crown agency created in 1980 by The Arts Council Act. The Council is governed by a volunteer board of 12. This includes 10 artists, reflecting sectoral and regional representation, and two representatives of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry, and Innovation. Council receives
an annual grant from the Province to support a variety of granting programs, office administration
and communications.

In 2015, the Council proudly celebrated its 35th anniversary of fostering and promoting artistic creation and developing the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. This strategic framework provides a long-term vision for the arts in the province. It will be followed in 2007 by an activity plan as required under Government’s new Transparency and Accountability Act.


ArtsNL fosters and promotes creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders
and Labradorians.


Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are a creative, innovative and diverse people who fully participate in a healthy, vibrant arts and cultural community which is globally recognized for artistic excellence.


Partnerships and Collaboration:
We build partnerships and collaborative relationships to better meet our mandate.

We actively support access to the arts for everyone.

Artistic Practice:
We support freedom of expression, diversity and excellence in artistic practice.

Artists’ Status:
We believe artistic practice should be economically viable for the artist.

Flexibility and Responsiveness:
We encourage arts community input and will change and evolve to meet changing needs.

Transparency and Accountability:
We develop policies and practices that meet high standards of transparency and accountability for the resources entrusted to our care.

The Arts in Newfoundland and Labrador – Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

To ensure the strategic framework reflects the views and concerns of our stakeholders, Council conducted an extensive consultation with artists, representatives of artist organizations, community representatives and others. With the assistance of an external consultant, we analyzed 226 surveys, held community forums attended by 172 participants and carried out in-depth interviews with 43 people. This consultation process provided a rich body of information and feedback for Council in the development of our strategic framework. The information forms a firm foundation for our activity plan under the Transparency and Accountability Act.

We also reviewed the status of the arts within a broader framework. Across Canada and around the world, artistic creation and enjoyment of the arts are recognized as key contributors to creative communities and healthy societies. Within our province, there is a growing recognition of the value of the arts. Parents are now demanding more artistic opportunities within schools for their children, recognizing that an understanding and appreciation of the arts spurs intellectual and creative development as well as greater respect for diversity and cultural identity. Community leaders recognize that participation in the arts within their own communities fosters community pride, identity, engagement and an enriched quality of life.

Despite these encouraging signs, artists continue to struggle, with the majority facing tremendous economic barriers. Within Canada, only 10 per cent of artists make a living exclusively from their art, a percentage which is also reflected in the province. Council funds about 70 per cent of all artists who apply to our granting programs but only to the level of about 30 per cent of the requested amounts. An average grant from Council is about $1,700.

This leaves artists in a particularly vulnerable position, especially given that the number of funding sources within the province is quite limited. In addition, the arts community, including arts organizations, competes with other sectors such as health and education for a limited public purse. Artists report a desperate need to generate greater economic viability for themselves through greater access to audiences within the province, throughout Canada and beyond. Artists also require a more responsive tax regime which provides incentives and/or deductions for export activity, materials, and other necessary tools to support artistic creation. Artists would also benefit from greater public awareness of the arts and increased access to their work province-wide within a culture that supports freedom of artist expression and diversity.

Artists and arts organizations expect Council to take a strong advocacy role by championing the arts and giving artists a strong, credible voice in public policy development. There is also a strong need for additional focus on professional development and mentoring, especially for emerging artists and those who live in rural areas. We also need to place more emphasis on engaging artists in supportive networks to enable access to information and resources and create a stronger sense of belonging to an arts community. Council has been weak in this area and requires additional communications staff and related resources to meet these important needs.

A critical strategic issue for Council is how best to direct limited grant funds. There is an acute awareness that existing funds are insufficient to meet basic requirements and that the number and scope of grant categories must be expanded. Grant programs must be supported by appropriate guidelines which respond to artists’ needs as well as the objectives of arts organizations. There is strong endorsement of Council’s peer assessment process, though this too can be further strengthened to achieve higher levels of transparency and more effective feedback.

Throughout the process, we have identified opportunities to better focus and coordinate investments and programming through stronger collaborative partnerships with government, other arts organizations, communities, and other stakeholders. We firmly believe that these approaches will assist us all to build on each others’ capabilities and energy for the benefit of all.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ArtsNL enjoys the tremendous talent and energy of arts champions within government, other arts organizations and communities. The opportunity–and challenge–ahead is to build on this foundation to ensure that excellence in arts creation and public enjoyment of the arts become a shared vision for all of us in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Strategic Goal 1

Improve support for artistic excellence through focused investments.

The primary function of ArtsNL is to develop and administer granting programs for artists and arts organizations. Over the last 25 years, tremendous changes have occurred in the arts community with emerging art forms, technology and new media. Many artists are expressing interest in export opportunities. Emerging artists require mentorship and access to financial support. For artists and arts organizations alike, the needs are great, calling for increased funding and focused investments coordinated with a diverse partnership base.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Intensify efforts to increase ArtsNL’s core funding to meet the needs of artists and arts organizations.
  2. Work with other agencies to coordinate and maximize available resources.
  3. Review and revise current funding programs to ensure a more comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of the arts community.
  4. Place additional focus on professional development, both through collaboration with other organizations and through direct delivery.
  5. Maintain the principle and strengthen the process of peer assessment.

Strategic Goal 2

Be an effective leader and advocate in fostering and promoting the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Currently within the province’s arts community, insufficient research exists to monitor the growth and development of the arts. Inadequate resources for information and communications impact Council’s ability to advocate effectively for increased arts investment and more responsive arts policy. Our stakeholders expect us to encourage collaboration among arts organizations, provide leadership on issues facing artists, and raise the visibility of the arts in public policy development.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Through a Council Advocacy Committee, develop and implement a plan which raises awareness of the vital role of the arts in society and which strives to improve the status of artists.
  2. Develop and implement a communications plan that promotes the role of ArtsNL, and creates opportunities for artists to network.
  3. Develop research capacity so that ArtsNL is a credible and authoritative voice for public policy development.

Strategic Goal 3

Support public awareness and participation, community involvement, and education in the arts.

Artists and other stakeholders believe that Council must play a stronger role in increasing public and community awareness of and participation in the arts. This reflects the important role the arts play in building vibrant communities and enhancing quality of life. The arts offer opportunities to deepen our appreciation of our diversity and heritages. Children and adults who are exposed to arts education broaden their understanding of the world and strengthen their capacity for creativity and innovation.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Take a lead role in promoting the arts to build audiences and broad-based participation, and to reflect cultural and artistic diversity.
  2. Create linkages among amateur artists and groups, community groups and professional artists to strengthen artistic practice and participation throughout the province
  3. Expand partnerships and diversify programs.
  4. Strengthen and broaden the role of the professional artist in formal education and lifelong learning.

Strategic Goal 4

Ensure a high standard of stewardship, accountability and transparency in all ArtsNL operations.

Public funds have been entrusted to ArtsNL to support grant programs and operations. As steward for these funds, Council intends to strive for the highest standards of transparency and accountability. The intent of this strategic goal is to ensure that effective, efficient and responsive governance and operational processes are in place and are visible.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Conduct an annual review and assessment of ArtsNL programs to ensure human and financial resources provide the greatest possible value and impact.
  2. Ensure program information and processes are open, accessible and easily understood.
  3. Consult with key stakeholders every three years as a basis for determining governance and operational strategy.
  4. Ensure an effective and efficient governance model is in place to support program delivery
  5. Foster the development of an environment that supports Council and staff development and which is open and accessible to the arts community.

Implementing the Framework and Monitoring Our Progress

This strategic framework provides ArtsNL with focus and a clear roadmap for fostering and promoting artistic creation and the enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. It highlights the strengths we can build on and the weaknesses we will address. Moreover, it serves as an important tool for demonstrating strong stewardship, accountability and transparency.

This framework will support the development of an annual operational plan, beginning with our 2006 fiscal year. On at least a semi-annual basis, Council will conduct a formal review of progress, and where warranted, adjust operational priorities to meet changing needs and external conditions.

The framework will also serve as a vehicle to provide status reports and an Annual Report to the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry, and Innovation, and to our stakeholders.