Arts committee created to boost $1B industry in Winnipeg

Mayor Brian Bowman announced the creation of a new advisory committee Thursday that will work to expand the arts, culture and heritage sectors in Winnipeg.

Mayor Brian Bowman says committee will help create a city Winnipeggers can be proud of

Pablo Picasso's painting Lamp and Cherries is one of the works featured in a 2017 display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. A new advisory committee will work to expand the arts and culture sector in Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman says. (Radja Mahamba/CBC)

Mayor Brian Bowman announced the creation of a new advisory committee Thursday that will work to expand the arts, culture and heritage sectors in Winnipeg.

The arts and culture industry contributes roughly $1 billion to Winnipeg's economy and employs six per cent of the city's workforce, the mayor's office said.

The industry plays a role in making Winnipeg a city "we can all be proud of," Bowman said in a written statement.

"In addition to their economic contributions, these sectors contribute significantly to the quality of life and vibrancy of the city."

The committee will be led by Coun. Mike Pagtakhan and includes members from across sectors in the city, including Lynne Skromeda, the executive director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Doneta Brotchie, program director with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and Thom Sparling, executive director of Manitobans for the Arts.

The advisory committee was created to work with the recommendations made by the mayor's task force on heritage, culture and the arts in June 2016.

The task force made 29 recommendations that the new committee will be asked to review and possibly implement.

Some of the recommendations include the creation of a maintenance fund for arts and culture facilities as well as more tax incentives and rebates for arts organizations.

Many of the recommendations require council approval before coming into effect.

with files from Bartley Kives