Catapult Arts Accelerator credited for helping culture sector

Julie Whitenect, executive director of ArtsLink NB, said the accelerator program creates a sense of entrepreneurship in the creative sector. (File photo)

SAINT JOHN — The Catapult Arts Accelerator program is being lauded for equipping artists with the skills needed to build their careers.

The program, which ArtsLink NB delivers, has helped more than 100 artists with business-skills training, career development, workshops and mentorships since it launched in 2014, the provincial government said.

“The arts and culture sector gives life to our province and helps to inspire a sense of pride in our communities,” said labour minister Greg Turner. “This sector is boosting tourism and our economy, and we are proud to support this program that continues to elevate innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The provincial and federal governments announced a combined $142,000 for the program last month with $50,000 provided by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and $92,000 coming from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

“I am so pleased that ACOA is supporting the arts sector with projects like this one,” said Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long. “By providing our artists with the education and resources they require to pursue long-term careers, we are contributing to a robust and competitive local economy in New Brunswick.”

Since the eight-week program was established, Julie Whitenect, the executive director of ArtsLink NB said over 75 per cent of participants found new audiences for their business, they can devote more time to their work, and have a stronger presence on social media.

Whitenect said most participants feel that the program is creating a culture of entrepreneurship within New Brunswick’s arts and culture sector.

“ArtsLink NB was founded in 2009 as a resource organization for arts professionals in New Brunswick,” said Whitenect. “Part of that work was to contextualize for government, the public and the arts sector itself, the value that arts and culture bring to the province’s health and vibrancy, and the contributions of arts and culture to economic growth. The endorsement and backing of our Catapult Arts Accelerator by both federal and provincial governments underscorethe collective acknowledgment of the indispensable role artists play in shaping the cultural landscape of New Brunswick.”

Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.