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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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parliament buildings, Ottawa

Sixteen national arts organizations representing over 5,000 Canadian artists present their Brief Concerning the Cultural Aspects of Canadian Reconstruction to the House of Commons Special Committee on Reconstruction and Re-establishment in Ottawa on June 21. Their Brief argues that the creative arts stand in a key position in the economy of the whole nation but that "in no country is less consideration given to artistic matters than in Canada…Millions of persons living in Canada have never seen an original work of art, nor attended a symphony concert or a professionally produced play. Millions have opportunities neither for realizing their own talents nor for achievement in post-educational fields."

The artists' Brief calls for the setting up of a governmental body for the supervision of all cultural activities and $10,000,000 for the construction of 575 community and cultural centres across the country. The publication of the artists' Brief in July of 1944 by the King's Printer, in the House of Commons Special Committee on Reconstruction and Re-establishment Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence No. 10, provides further legitimacy to the artists' cause. When the federal government ignored the artists' recommendations, the sixteen national arts organizations found the Canadian Arts Council on December 5, 1945 with Herman Voaden as its first president. Nation-wide organizing for government support for the arts by the CAC helps to create the groundwork for the establishment in 1949 of the federal Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences in Canada.

However, many of the Brief's proposals to stimulate and distribute Canadian self-expression and create a national culture, the establishment of a national library, an enlarged National Film Board, National Gallery, Archives, a state theatre such as the National Arts Centre, a chain of regional theatres, government subsidies for individual artists and arts organizations, increased copyright protection, and projecting the arts as Canada's face abroad in international diplomacy would take years and decades to come into effect.