Learn more about the visionaries who used culture to develop a sense of community spirit across the province in the book HOW IT ALL BEGAN: The Story of the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils 1968-1987. Author Lynn Gidluck explores the organization’s Estevan roots through extensive research and interviews with key influencers.
The book retails for $20 and is available at www.benchmarkpress.ca/bookstore.
When it was founded in 1948, the Saskatchewan Arts Board was one of the many innovative policy initiatives of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government led by Tommy Douglas. The idea for the board originated with David Smith, Director of Adult Education in the Saskatchewan Department of Education. Smith was assisted in developing the Arts Board by prominent Saskatchewan artists such as painter Ernest Lindner, University of Saskatchewan drama professor Emrys Jones and University of Saskatchewan English professor Carlyle King. Eleven other men and women joined Smith, Jones, King, and Lindner as the first board members. Modelled after the British Arts Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board was the first organization of its kind to be established in North America.
Smith was determined that the Arts Board would not be a government committee or an advisory board to civil servants. While it would still answer to the provincial government, it was to be an arms-length board with its own budget. Government representatives, leaders in the fields of art, and ordinary citizens could all be found on the board. Care was also taken to ensure that they came from across the province, not just from Saskatoon and Regina.