Yukon arts funding highest in Canada

If you’re an artist looking to fund your new album or sculpture, there’s no better place to be than the Yukon. The Yukon receives $113.

If you’re an artist looking to fund your new album or sculpture, there’s no better place to be than the Yukon.

The Yukon receives $113.33 per person in arts funding, according to a recent Canadian report.

That’s $100 more than the Northwest Territories — the second-best funded province or territory in Canada.

The numbers prove the Yukon really is an arts mecca, said Arts Underground funding administrator Marlene Collins.

“It’s quite a spread, isn’t it?” she said.

An enthusiastic public helps keep arts funding at high levels, said Collins.

“People see so much art around the territory, they really start to value it,” she said. “It’s a small community and art is seen everywhere.”

The report from the Canadian Public Arts Funders measured funding delivered by arts councils or government departments during a 2006-2007 period.

Over the years, the Yukon has attracted free thinkers and artistic-minded people, said Collins.

More than 735 people earn their living in the cultural sector, making up 4.8 per cent of the Yukon labour force, according to a 2004 government report. The national average is 3.8 per cent.

Professional development has also made the Yukon a destination for artists. Collins points to portfolio workshops as a way artists are building careers.

“A lot of people are trying to make a living from their art and there’s a lot of support for them to do that,” she said.

“We’re creating employment for artists and, in turn, they do work in the community.”

Because of the strong presence of artists in the territory — putting on workshops and visiting schools — appreciation for art is higher than ever, said Collins.

“When people see how much work goes into making a cup made out of clay — how much skill is needed — it hits close to home,” she said.

The Yukon economy relies heavily on tourism and cultural industries, making arts funding a necessity to allow artists time to work, said Laurel Parry, manager of the arts sector of the Yukon cultural services branch.

 “Artists are looking to be viable and they’re wanting to live here and have found creative ways to do so,” she said.

“Scratch the surface of a typical Yukon cultural worker and you’ll see a wide array of activities they do to earn a living.”

Some artists sell their art outside the territory, and they can earn money teaching or administering arts projects, said Perry.

While the Yukon does have more arts funding per capita, the numbers in the Canadian Public Arts Funders report are a little skewed, said Parry.

“One of the reasons why the number is so high is the low population,” she said. “So a large arts facility like the Yukon Arts Centre would be just as expensive to run in a city of 200,000 people.

“Despite that, the Yukon has a strong suite of funding programs that started in the 1980s and grew from there.

“There is a real tradition of funding artists and arts programs.”

The tourism and culture department provides more than $2.7 million in grants and contribution funding through programs like the Advanced Artist Award, Artists in the Schools and the Dawson City Arts Society.

“The arts play an important role in the daily life of Yukoners,” said Parry. “It’s not just to benefit the artists but the communities, too, feel the effect.”

The director of the Canada Council for the Arts made a recent stop in Whitehorse during a national tour, and was impressed at the infrastructure and funding for the Yukon artists.

“He was struck by how even though we’re a north-of-60 city the facilities and array of arts services looked like a southern city,” said Perry.

The small, close-knit arts community makes it easy for artists to support each other and collaborate.

“You’ll have a choreographer working with a poet on a project just because they have an artistic affinity,” said Perry.

“The arts in Canada is very people oriented. When people come up here to collaborate, many of them stay.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media after delivering the budget in the legislature in Whitehorse on March 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Territorial budget predicts deficit of $12.7 million, reduced pandemic spending in 2021-2022

If recovery goes well, the territory could end up with a very small surplus.

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25 after two masked men entered a residence, assaulted a man inside with a weapon and departed. (Black Press file)
Two men arrested after Dawson City home invasion

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25.… Continue reading

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)
New access to information laws will take effect April 1

“Our government remains committed to government openness and accountability.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read