Press Release: Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador Disturbed by Recent Cuts to the Sector


For Immediate Release:

April 5th, 2013:    Members of Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador have expressed dismay at the recent cuts in this year’s budget, which have had a dramatic impact on the visual arts sector across the province. Speaking on their behalf, VANL-CARFAC chair Gerri Lynn Mackey has said that the government has undervalued the arts and that such a shortsighted approach to arts funding will damage both the financial and cultural life of the province. “The cultural sector in Newfoundland and Labrador makes a substantial contribution to the economy annually, and is a draw for skilled labour and tourists alike.”

Addressing the cuts to The Rooms, members of VANL’s Advocacy committee say that the arts infrastructure of Newfoundland and Labrador is being dismantled by the cuts and the impact will affect rural populations just as much as it will St. John’s.  “Isolated communities count on the staff of The Rooms to train volunteers, offer advice, install art in public buildings, provide direction to community museums and archives, and much more. You can survive the amputation of a finger or toe, but when you cut the head off, the patient dies.”

Mackey calls on the government to consider the indirect damage and ongoing ripple effect that these cuts will have, not only to arts groups but to the general population: “artists wish to work with, not against, the government. With the oil industry arriving on the scene, people are changing, the culture is changing, and we must have a place to share how that is happening or we will lose ourselves, our identities.”

For more information, contact Dave Andrews at the VANL-CARFAC office, 709-738-7303 or