New territorial arts strategy sets out goals for next 10 years

The territorial government has released a new strategy it says is designed to help the NWT’s arts and culture sector grow over the next 10 years.

Priorities in the strategy include supporting opportunities for artists to engage with children, improving access to funding, and increasing spaces to create, exhibit, and sell art.

The lack of a formal territorial art gallery has long been a complaint among the NWT’s arts community, some of whom feel space and funding for the arts are too often relegated among government priorities.


The strategy states the GNWT will help communities to develop more studio and multi-use spaces for artists. The Yellowknife Artists’ Co-operative provided a demonstration of such a project by leasing the Wildcat Café in Old Town this August and September, which has been used to host arts programming.

In full: Read the NWT Arts Strategy 2021-2031

The 2021-2031 document, released on Thursday by the NWT’s culture and industry departments, was three years in the making. It’s the latest of several strategies since the first was published in 2004.

Other action items in the strategy include exploring the creation of an NWT Arts Association – which it describes as “an arm’s-length entity that would support and strengthen the NWT creative sector” – and assisting Indigenous artists, Elders, and knowledge-keepers to share traditional knowledge with youth.

In a news release on Thursday, the GNWT said staff will be “collecting information” on the NWT Arts Strategy each year. There are plans to publish performance reports in 2026 and 2031.


Are you in the NWT’s arts sector? What do you think of the strategy? Email our arts reporter if you’d like to contribute to our ongoing coverage of the strategy and how arts in the NWT can evolve.