The Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership said the new investment in arts and culture announced this week is a show of support for the sector. The provincial budget tabled on Tuesday, May 9, included $850,000 more for cultural organizations and activities — a 12.6 per cent increase over funding last year. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is also receiving a $361,000 boost in funding for operations and programming as well as a commitment to support year-round operations at its Yarmouth branch. In addition, the province provided one-time, year-end investments in the culture sector in 2005-06 totalling more than $850,000, including support for the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts, and performing arts extravaganza, Drum!. “Nova Scotia has a unique and vibrant culture that provides important social and economic benefits to our communities,” said Judy Streatch, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “We recognize the immense potential of the sector and we continue to build on a record of support with new investments.” The minister said provincial funding for arts and culture in Nova Scotia has increased by 32.5 per cent since 2002. The Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council is advising government on areas of potential growth and development for the sector in Nova Scotia. “New investments in existing programs for arts and culture is exactly what we’ve been working for,” said Paul Gallant, chair of the council. “Our council is bolstered by this news and we plan to continue our efforts to bring arts and culture to the forefront in the coming years. In terms of showing commitment to the sector, this budget is a positive step.” The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia also welcomed the news. “This investment will help us continue to bring the art of the world to Nova Scotia and the art of Nova Scotia to the world,” said Jeffery Spalding, director and chief curator of the art gallery. “We can now also open the Yarmouth Gallery year round, increasing tourism, educational and cultural opportunities to rural Nova Scotia.” Nova Scotia’s culture sector is valued at $1.2 billion, and employs more than 28,000 people across the province.