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NWT Arts Strategy

The NWT Arts Strategy is a joint initiative of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) released in October 2004.

The Strategy represents the Government of the Northwest Territories’ (GNWT) recognition of the important role that arts and fine crafts play in both our society and our economy, and demonstrates our commitment to take action to address identified issues and opportunities in this sector.

During the 18th Legislative Assembly, the GNWT committed to complete a new NWT Arts Strategy and accompanying Action Plan to replace the previous 2004 version. The new Arts Strategy and accompanying Action Plan will be developed together as a Strategic Framework and will articulate GNWT values and priorities for supporting a strong cultural community and thriving creative economy for a 10-year period.

Development of the new NWT Arts Strategy is being undertaken in three phases:

  • Phase I: Arts Strategy Research and Drafting (2018-2019)
  • Phase II: Development of NWT Arts Strategy (2019-2020)
  • Phase III: Implementation of NWT Arts Strategy (2020+)

Phase I began in October 2018 with contractor-led secondary research of GNWT documents and a scan of best practices in other regions. A series of public engagements was conducted between November and December 2018, with over 400 members of the NWT creative community via a focus group, an online survey and interviews with key stakeholders working in the arts sector.

Beginning in June 2019, ECE and ITI initiated Phase II of the Strategy by engaging with communities across the territory. In-person and online public engagement during Phase II sought to gather feedback on community identified arts priorities in the NWT.

The Strategy will be finalized in 2020, and will list the actions for the GNWT to undertake in support of the values and priorities set out in the Strategy. Phase III will be implementation of the Strategy. The Strategy will allow the GNWT to adapt proactively by participating in current and future opportunities, partnerships and alliances.

GNWT Roles

ECE and ITI have a shared interest in supporting the arts. Although their activities overlap at times, the two departments are mandated with distinct roles that result in different programs and services.

Industry, Tourism and Investment’s Role

In supporting the arts, ITI recognizes the importance of tradition and the economic potential of the NWT arts and fine crafts industry. Funding support is provided under the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Policy.

ITI also supports marketing and promotional efforts, nationally and internationally, by raising awareness of the importance and value of traditional and fine arts and crafts in the NWT. It does this through the NWT Arts Program.

Education, Culture and Employment’s Role

ECE supports the arts through various programs and services that are intended to foster life-long learning, appreciation of, and participation in the arts.

Early Childhood and School Services provides opportunities to learn about and through the arts from kindergarten to grade 12 by developing curricula, resources, artists-in- schools programs, youth mentorships and professional development for teachers in the arts. 

Aurora College provides courses in arts instruction as part of the Teacher Education Program and the Aboriginal Language and Culture Instructor Program Aurora College offers continuing education courses in the arts.

The Student Financial Assistance Program provides financial support for NWT residents to pursue postsecondary studies in a number of areas, including the arts

ECE Service Centres provide information about postsecondary arts programs and scholarships across Canada.

The Culture and Heritage Division coordinates a full range of professional services for individuals and organizations actively involved in arts, culture and heritage activities. It provides opportunities for public awareness and appreciation of the arts through financial awards to artists and arts organizations in the visual, literary, media and performing arts.

These funding programs support established and emerging artists in developing their skills and producing work. The NWT Arts Council, in addition to reviewing and recommending funding proposals for creative artistic projects, provides advice to the Minister on issues and policies associated with artists and the arts. The Council’s mandate is to promote the arts in the NWT.

The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre provides a venue for showcasing art and public events. Travelling exhibits are circulated to northern communities on an annual basis

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