KEDGWICK (GNB) – The provincial government is providing financial assistance to four artist-in-residence projects in Caraquet, Kedgwick, Miramichi and Baie-Sainte-Anne.

The initiative helps to showcase emerging and professional artists through projects that are representative of New Brunswick's unique heritage and culture. Held in conjunction with community arts organizations and not-for-profit groups, the projects aim to increase appreciation of the arts and also give artists an opportunity to display their work through performances, readings, exhibitions and other events.

“A thriving arts and culture community not only inspires the arts, but also plays a role in business development, creative enterprise and job creation in the province,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage. “By connecting artists with their communities and with one another, we are helping to build the organizational capacity of our arts and culture sector and, in turn, strengthening our identity as New Brunswickers.”

LePage spoke on behalf of Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames.

The first of the four projects will be presented by Isabelle Levesque on Wednesday, March 14, at the Théâtre Fatima in Kedgwick from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“Linking the community to an artistic project has been a fulfilling experience,” said Levesque. “I am pleased with the active participation of our candidates. They generously gave their time and shared stories about their traditional activity or trade. Their passion is the reason behind the success of this project.”

Artists receive investments through the Northern and Miramichi Funds to go toward supplies, fees and cost-of-living expenses. The initiative helps individual artists while also cultivating activity within the province’s cultural tourism sector.

The New Brunswick Tourism Growth Strategy will invest $100 million in tourism over the next eight years, with a goal of growing tourism-related GDP to $2 billion by 2025. Tourism visitor spending is estimated at $1.3 billion, making it the third-largest service sector in the province.