Published by: Rhiannon Rosalind, CEO of the Economic Club of Canada, Founder of the Jr. Economic Club of Canada and Conscious Economics

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our lives, our systems and the global economy as a whole. Each and every one of us has been impacted in some way shape or form, but our cultural and creative industries have truly been among the hardest hit. Based on current data and analysis of creative occupations, experts estimate losses of more than 2.3 million jobs and $74 billion in average, earnings for the creative occupations have been lost in the USA alone. In Canada, it is estimated that independent cultural workers have lost 20 million dollars in job earnings, and 28,000 jobs have been lost. These numbers are staggering of course, as are the personal impacts felt by artists and creators all around the world, but underneath all the doom and gloom, there is a hard but powerful shift happening.

I believe that the global pandemic offers us an opportunity to truly see the cracks in our systems that have always been present but often ignored. The cultural and creative industries have always played a critical social and economic role, in my home province of Ontario it is 12.2-billion-dollar industry; but artists often find themselves undervalued, underemployed and underpaid despite all they contribute. During this unprecedented time on earth, as we find ourselves in a period of global reflection, it is time to reset the stage and develop a new economic infrastructure that supports artists and creators like never before. Artists have always been agents of change in our society; they ask hard questions and challenge the status quo. To lose our connection to art and creativity is to lose our own humanity, as art is a fundamental part of life.

Many artists do not always see themselves as social innovators or entrepreneurs, but they do indeed occupy these roles. Thus it is critical that they be given the tools to fully embrace these spaces with confidence and know-how. In the spirit of great change, Conscious Economics is proudly partnering with Arts Help powered by The Remington Group to launch the Artists for Social Change Program (AFSC). This educational program and competition seeks to amplify the work of BIPOC and Queer identifying social change artists across Canada and create learning outcomes for participants worldwide.

In order to highlight BIPOC and Queer Identifying artists through our submission process, AFSC will host a final showcase on February 19th 2021 featuring celebrity judges: Deborah Cox, Sophie Brussaux, Julian Christian Lutz (AKA Director X), Tegan from Tegan and Sara and Priyanka who will vote to choose the top Social Change Artist in Canada. Participants in the program will have access to arts focused modules surrounding business, sustainability, and entrepreneurship led by industry leaders and informed by the 17 United Nations SDG’s. These modules will launch February 1st 2021. Complimenting this will be expert-led workshops available for participants so that they too can delve more specifically into the educational content that will be released from February 8th-18th 2021.

It is time to support artists and encourage their activism and leadership. The Artists for Social Change program is our opportunity to give artists the support they deserve and develop a new collective paradigm where the needs of people, planet, profit and art are balanced, valued and integrated into our systems.

To apply to our Artists for Social Change competition and to find out more about our program please visit our website at Please note that we are still accepting applications for our final showcase which will close on January 22, 2021.

This program is supported by the Government of Canada, The Canadian Red Cross, and powered by The Remington Group. Thank you to our valued community partners Honey Jam and Queer collective for your support.

Arts Help is proudly supported by the Remington Group.

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