The Arts Create Connections and Communities

Creative initiatives are needed to deal with social issues and economic disparity. Participation in arts activities has been proven to reduce youth violence, help prevent drug addiction, support rehabilitation, be a critical element in mental health treatment, and reduce reliance on social programs.

In From Bronze to Gold: A Blueprint for Canadian Leadership in a Transforming World, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives concluded that artistic and cultural creativity plays an important role in transforming communities into destinations of choice for skilled people in any occupation. A community’s cultural infrastructure has a direct impact on quality of life and on the competitiveness of communities in attracting people and investment

The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce states that for young Indo-Canadians, celebration of their vibrant contribution to BC’s identity is vital to their sense of pride and confidence, and builds respect for the South Asian community among the public at large. This leads to a reduction of racial tensions and violence, promotes positive role models, showcases our culture and creates new opportunities for our youth.

From Restless Communities to Resilient Places: Building A Stronger Future For All Canadians, the June 2006 Final Report of the External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities concluded that those Canadian cities and communities that have recognized the importance of culture are better positioned to meet future challenges and opportunities. Strong cultural engagement can substantially improve the cohesiveness, confidence and international image and attractiveness of places.

The arts contribute to our understanding of our common interests and our appreciation of the value of our differences and contribute to creating a society that respects and appreciates one another, and to creating communities that work together to make our communities strong.

The arts are a positive way to build community engagement, especially for those who feel marginalized, isolated or alone. Participation in the arts enables people to feel they are a part of the community and provides a valuable connection to the rest of society.

Presentation to the British Columbia Government
September 2007