This article is both an analysis of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly and a call to action to Canadian artists. I argue that, in order to ensure a sustainable and productive realization of Justin Trudeau’s plans for Canadian arts and culture, we, as artists, must construct a clear vision for the importance of arts and culture to the health of our democracy and clearly communicate that vision to government. Unless Trudeau’s promises are embedded in that kind of vision—a universally acknowledged central purpose—his promises create no new security for Canadian artists. Concretely put, we must overcome our inertia, extract ourselves from our current economic context, and reacquaint ourselves with our actual purpose. Why do we make art? Why is it important that we do? We must become agents of our own identities, lives, and livelihoods by changing the conversation about arts and culture in Canada from the bottom up. It is essential and timely that we reconfigure the terms with, and the context within which, arts and culture are currently defined.


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pp. 7-11
Launched on MUSE
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