We would like to discuss the actions the AAAPNB is taking regarding the changes to the New Brunswick Arts Board (artsnb) announced by the Government of New Brunswick.
For the AAAPNB, the overarching principles which guarantee the Arts Board's independence are not negotiable.
Since the announcement was made on February 2, the AAAPNB has been pressuring the Government incessantly to ensure that artsnb remain at arm's length. Not engaging in a public battle does not mean we have not been actively involved.
Artists and the AAAPNB have fought and continue to fight for an Arts Board that is at arm's length from the Government. These are our demands:
that the Arts Board function at arm's length from the Government,
that it manage its own budget,
that it operate within the framework of a law that ensures its independence and arm's length status,
that its Board of Directors be autonomous,
that its Board of Directors be responsible for hiring its executive staff,
and that the above be carried out within a structure that allocates financial support to artists through a peer jury system free of political interference.
The Government has made a commitment to respect these conditions.
We have received assurances that artsnb will not be abolished, that it won't be amalgamated with the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, as some people have suggested. In this regard, AAAPNB maintains that employees of artsnb cannot be public servants; they need to have complete and full independence.
One meeting has already taken place. On February 11, two professional artists, representatives of ArtsLinkNB, artsnb, the AAAPNB, and the Government, took part in discussions. At that time, we reaffirmed our position on the above conditions.
Nothing has been cast in stone. Discussions about this issue are ongoing. We are continuing to monitor the situation in order to ensure that artists do not lose ground.
The AAAPNB has worked too hard for artsnb's independence to remain silent if this independence or arm's length status is threatened.
If at any point the Government does not respect its commitments, the AAAPNB will be on the front lines and take every opportunity to speak out.
Philippe Beaulieu, President
Carmen Gibbs, Executive Director