Arts and Social Change

exploring the power of the arts

In September, 2007, Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, the Executive Director for the Alliance for Arts and Culture, asked if I would look at a brief being prepared by ArtsFuture BC for the Provincial Government recommending that the budget for the British Columbia Arts Council be increased to $32 million dollars a year. It was the value proposition for the arts. I took on the job of editing the brief and articulating the value proposition for the arts to more clearly communicate what we are investing in when we invest in the arts. On the day of the hearing I received a call in the morning from Andrew who was stuck in Winnipeg to see if I could make the presentation in his place which I did.

The original brief prepared by ArtsFuture BC was titled “The case for sustainable communities in British Columbia through investment in arts and culture” with a storyline of “Igniting the power of creativity”.

I would say that an investment in the arts is an investment in our experience economy, in our creativity, and in our ability to create sustainable communities.

When the September 2008 hearings came around, Andrew asked if I would prepare and make a presentation on behalf of ArtsFuture BC. I introduced the presentation with this observation.

“Increasing our investment in arts and culture will demonstrate to the world that British Columbia is a culturally diverse and creative place to live. Our Province, known as Supernatural British Columbia, could also be known as Creative British Columbia”.

The Presentations

Arts Future BC – 2007 Presentation
Arts Future BC – 2008 Presentation

The Opportunity

We create our future with our creative expression, our creative contribution, and our creative enterprise and by increasing our understanding and appreciation of the contribution of the arts to our creative and cultural evolution, to our community, and to creating our future.



Breaking the Fourth Wall with Centre A and the Downtown Vancouver Association
My point of view on Breaking the Fourth Wall with the Arts of the Downtown Eastside
The points of view of the contributors to the conversation
Arts Health BC is part of a growing national network championing participation and engagement in the arts for improved health, healing, and well-being for all British Columbians.

Learning through the Arts
Improving Academic Achievement

Learning Through the Arts was created and developed by The Royal Conservatory in 1994 and is now one of the most respected full school intervention programs in the world.

Learning Through the Arts uses arts-based activities to teach the core curriculum by providing teachers with creative tools to engage all students in math, science, language arts, social studies, and learning activities.

specially trained artists work creatively in partnership with classroom teachers to make the core curriculum exciting and relevant to all students and learner types. For example, students are learning numeracy through dance, literacy through media arts, and science through music. It is now the largest full school intervention program in the world, reaching more than 377,000 students in the last ten years. Demand for Learning through the Arts continues to increase exponentially across North America and around the world.

At the conclusion of a three-year Queen’s University study, students in the Learning through the Arts program scored an average of 11 percentile points higher in math than their peers in non-Learning through the Arts schools.

With more than 45 studies on the effects of the Learning through the Arts program has consistently demonstrated benefits to not only students, but also to teachers, principals, and Learning through the Arts artist-educators.

Learning through the Arts programs fuse the arts, cognition, and curriculum in multiple learning paradigms and are proven to enhance the capacity of teachers to teach, the ability of children to learn, and the potential of schools to inspire.

Learning through the Arts

The Royal Conservatory

The Royal Conservatory is one of the largest and most respected music education institutions in the world, providing the definitive standard of excellence in curriculum design, assessment, performance training, teacher certification and arts-based social programs.

The mission of The Royal Conservatory, to develop human potential through leadership in music and the arts, is based on the conviction that the arts are humanity’s greatest means to achieve personal growth and social cohesion. The curriculum for the study of music developed by The Conservatory has become Canada’s national standard and its broad use has served to bind together the people of the nation with the thread of shared creative experiences.

The Royal Conservatory

The art of making learning fun
Kate Hammer, – Globe and Mail, June 20, 2014

Between 2010 and 2013, the first three years that the Learning Through the Arts program was delivered to about 3,000 students in Fort McMurray, the Grade 9 math scores of First Nations students have climbed more than 20 percentage points, beating the average for Alberta’s non-aboriginal students.

First Nations students also beat the provincial average by nearly 10 points in Grade 6 language arts and posted a 20-percentage-point gain in Grade 9 social studies.

Educators across the country are struggling with how to get First Nations youth – a fast-growing demographic – to live up to their academic potential. As a group they have long trailed their non-aboriginal peers on standardized tests, and only one in three graduates from high school.