Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)

Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

The survey runs until late June

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is applying her trademark flair to a cause close to her heart. She’s championing a survey about the impact of the arts on our social and economic well-being.

“Art is the gateway drug to everything that matters to me,” says Norgate. “So it makes sense I’ve come out swinging in support of this Arts Impact Study.”

Norgate has produced a video called “Art – What’s it to Yah?” to promote the survey.

Art – What's it to ya'? from Digital Innovation Group on Vimeo.

“I’m issuing a challenge to well-known artists from the more rural and remote parts of our Islands to join me in this ad campaign,” adds Norgate. “Let’s use our renown to help put our arts and culture super-region on the map.”

The study, launched earlier this month by Digital Innovation Group (digarts.ca) — a group of community arts councils, aims to quantify the economic, social, cultural, and health impacts of arts across the Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands super-region.

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“This is the first time we’ve set out to measure the positive benefits of the arts sector to everyone living in our coastal super-region,” explains Kathy Holmes, President of the Arts Council of Ladysmith & District. “We have good reason to believe we have more artists and creatives per capita than anywhere else in Canada. The survey data will help us prove we’re an art powerhouse.”

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The group hopes to receive feedback from everyone who experiences art in their daily lives — including retail businesses, restaurants, realtors, tourism service providers, local government and, of course, artists.

So far, the response to the survey has been strongest in Southern Vancouver Island — with Victoria and Salt Spring Island leading the way. DIG is now looking to gather more responses from the rest of Vancouver Island.

“We want to understand how many creatives are out there, and all the ways they are contributing to life on the Islands, so we’re pushing hard in the western and northern regions to reach as many artists and arts-engaged citizens, organizations and businesses as possible,” says Kera McHugh, Community Engagement Director, Comox Valley Arts Council – another member of the Digital Innovation Group.

The survey team is aiming for a 0.5 percent response rate, which is roughly 5,000 responses and encourages everyone who interacts directly or indirectly with arts to take the survey and share with family and friends.

The survey runs until late June. It is being conducted by international consulting firm Nordicity, and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.