Release of the NWT Arts Strategy 2021-2031

News Releases

Yellowknife — September 16, 2021

The NWT Arts Strategy 2021-2031 was released today by the departments of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) and Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI). The new strategy provides the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) with renewed priorities for the continued growth and prosperity of the creative sector for the next decade.

ECE and ITI work closely to support and promote artists and the arts in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

Public input was gathered from residents, including individual artists and cultural organizations. From these engagement sessions, four main goals were identified:

  1. Improve GNWT arts programs and services
  2. Strengthen education, engagement and leadership in the arts
  3. Support arts infrastructure
  4. Strengthen the NWT creative sector


“The arts are integral to the identity, well-being and prosperity of northerners. The renewed Arts Strategy seeks to support and encourage artistic and creative expression in the north. The goals and action outlined in this strategy will help the GNWT to continue to collaborate across the NWT’s arts sector to ensure that it thrives.”

- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

“NWT’s creative sector provides important economic opportunities for residents across our territory. The renewed NWT Arts Strategy will strengthen this sector by establishing new partnerships, exploring new markets, and discovering innovative initiatives that together will improve how we showcase the great talent and potential of NWT’s artists.”

- Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Quick facts

  • The original NWT Arts Strategy was released in 2004 and updated action plan in 2007. Progress reports on the strategy’s achievements were released in 2006 and 2013. These documents have directed ECE and ITI arts programming over the past 15 years.
  • Arts as a revenue stream for artisans falls under the GNWT mandates Increase employment in small communities (co-led with ECE) and Increase economic diversification by supporting growth in non-extractive sectors and setting regional diversification targets (ITI lead).
  • The creation of this strategy fulfills the GNWT’s commitment outlined in Action Item 2.5a of the Culture and Heritage Strategic Framework “The GNWT will create a new NWT Arts Strategy that articulates the GNWT’s values and priorities for the arts (ECE, ITI).”
  • The GNWT will collect information on the NWT Arts Strategy every year and will publish performance reports in 2026 and 2031.

Related links


For media requests, please contact:

Briony Grabke

Manager, Public Affairs and Communications

Department of Education, Culture and Employment

Government of the Northwest Territories

867-767-9352 Ext. 71073

Drew Williams

Assistant Director, Strategic Communications

Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Government of the Northwest Territories

867-767-9202 Ext. 63037