Dreaming of an arts ecosystem

Updated: May 18

We believe that Vancouver Island’s arts sector is an arts ecosystem - with the potential for sharing services, supports, markets and more. For the past few years, we’ve been testing the benefits and impacts of coordinated collaboration and innovation through the Digital Innovation Group (DIG) - with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund.

DIG started out as an initiative of 6 arts councils from Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands (aka super-region), and has since expanded to include engagement with all 25 arts councils. One of DIG’s most significant accomplishments is the first-ever arts impact study for our super-region. A key finding is that we have ‘strength in numbers’. This island ecosystem is home to at least 35,000 professional and casual artists, and another 20,000 arts sector workers. The study’s findings give us incredible leverage: for starters they are facilitating new conversations with other sectors such as Tourism Vancouver Island and the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Commission. The arts is an integrated part of our lives, and needs to be embedded as such into many other industries. DIG’s funding ends March 2022, so Creative Coast is stepping in to ensure the momentum continues. Creative Coast is currently co-chaired by Illana Hester (original member of DIG and Executive Director of the The Old School House Arts Centre - TOSH - in Qualicum Beach), and Jenny Farkas (DIG volunteer, artist, arts marketing strategist). CC team members include Shannon Delaney (dancer, educator at the Ladysmith Arts Council), Rachel Dewhurst (videographer and DIG administrator) and Zoey Heath (photographer, Communications Manager at TOSH). Priorities for the spring of 2022 include developing an equity/inclusion framework for future research and collaboration, and testing some digitally enhanced ways to support rural/remote and underserved artists and arts communities.


Stay tuned for updates about our process as it unfolds!


If you’d like to be involved please reach out: info@creativecoast.ca


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