Culture Action Plan

The Government of Prince Edward Island has developed Cultivating Growth, a five-year action plan for cultural initiatives and creative industries to increase both the economic and social well-being of Islanders through strategic investments.

Cultivating Growth

To build on the best of cultural traditions of Prince Edward Island while setting a path for further development and growth – in the province, across the country and around the world.

Cultivating Growth is the result of public research and consultation with Islanders active or interested in culture and the creative industries. In the spring of 2017, 27 focus groups, seven group interviews, and six informal pop-up cafes were held at more than a dozen locations across Prince Edward Island. A public online survey gathered more than 1,500 responses in two official languages. While the majority of focus groups and interviews were with specific cultural communities or industries, 48 percent of respondents to the public survey had never worked in the cultural sector, and responses were quite evenly split among demographics from age 20 through 70.  As a result, the data represents a broad range of perspectives on Island culture and its prospect for the next five years.

Cultivating Growth is Government’s response to what was heard in the consultations.  It seeks to build on the best of cultural traditions of Prince Edward Island while setting a path for further development and growth – in the province, across the country and around the world.  It aims to set out a plan of specific actions over the next five years that will help advance artistic expression and creative industries in our province.  

Executive Summary

Prince Edward Island’s culture comes from our unique place and our diverse people, each with a proud heritage. Culture can be defined by our seasonal traditions, built heritage, natural environment, our recreational spaces and pastimes, and by the work of our vibrant arts and creative industries. It carries us through our daily lives and builds a foundation for our future – and is about cultivating growth.

Culture is active.  It grows with our collaborations, innovations and enterprise – whether it be the genius of an artist viewing the world from a unique perspective, or the way a community works together to host a local festival. This creativity is the heart of cultural growth. It is both the spark and the ability to ignite that spark.

Cultivating Growth: Prince Edward Island’s Five-Year Action Plan for Culture and Creative Industries will increase both the economic and social well-being of Islanders through strategic investments in cultural initiatives and creative industries.

Cultivating Growth was created following extensive public consultations and analysis of trends in cultural development. It lays out an action plan that directs and encourages collaborations between community, funders, policy makers, artists and creative industry workers, and consumers of culture in Prince Edward Island.

As a path forward, Cultivating Growth calls upon us to work together to:

  • build on existing strengths;
  • create access and belonging;
  • encourage the arts and creative industries; and
  • advance learning and expertise

To succeed, our work together must be founded on key partnerships:

  • the arts and the creative economy;
  • cultural and artistic institutions;
  • reconciliation with Indigenous people; and
  • multiculturalism and diversity.

Cultivating Growth responds to community needs and lays out a plan to meet those needs over the next five years. It will underscore one of the reasons why Prince Edward Island is remarkable– we have a rich culture relative to our size, and we seek to share more of it – with Islanders, Canadians, and people around the world.

Cultivating Growth

Culture is place, people, and possibility. It is the creative product when these ingredients are combined. Culture is who we are, and who we aim to be. All cultures – and all cultural traditions and expressions shape Prince Edward Island.

From the Mi’kmaq, to our newest arrivals from all corners of the globe, we bring language, customs, traditions, spiritual practices, art and cuisine, all of which enrich and expand our potential.

Wherever Prince Edward Island is known, it is generally synonymous with Anne of Green Gables, potatoes, lobster, and beaches. These are the main storylines of our provincial identity and culture. They are not, however, the full story, particularly with our growing cultural diversity and our expanding creative cultural industries. We are introducing new narratives that will shape our culture and create opportunities for artists, workers, industries and institutions.

We want to share our culture with the world through our people and products, and through the millions of visitors who explore our shores every year. The world adores Prince Edward Island. People love our beautiful land and its rich bounty. People are struck by our talented people. And people remember our welcoming nature. 

Islanders live in a culture that is strong but capable of even more. Islanders understand the value of what we have. And it is not taken for granted. We are actively - and, most often, naturally - engaged in the acts of “care” and “cultivation.” Cultivating Growth reflects the might and potential that resides within our great province.

The Plan ObjectivesPainting of person with copy: "culture is active; culture is about us as a place and people; it carries us through our daily lives; it is both the spark and the ability to ignite that spark"

Cultivating Growth is a path forward over the next five years for cultural engagement, investment , and celebration in Prince Edward Island. It represents a commitment to furthering personal, social, and economic well-being for all Islanders. The world is always changing, but given our natural resources and people, Prince Edward Island is well-positioned to meet new challenges and seize new opportunities. Growth is a priority for our province, but it is not just growth by any means. It is growth that reflects and builds upon our Island culture.

Cultivating Growth aims to develop the tools for sustainable growth in cultural activities and creative industries.

These supports are designed to advance four objectives:

  • Claiming agency
  • Helping us to work together
  • Recognizing abundance
  • Aiming for excellence

Claiming Agency

The concept of using our own talents, imaginations, and observations to help us exert our creative power lies at the heart of the plan. Agency is the ability to determine and direct our thoughts, values, and actions on our own. It is our agency that allows us to tell our own stories. When people and communities are empowered, they find creative solutions to their problems.

Cultivating Growth encourages the development of tools for Islanders to claim their agency as individuals, communities, regions and as a province.

Helping Us to Work Together

Collaboration and partnership are words that Islanders understand well. From the first Mi’kmaq welcome of Acadian settlers, to the settlement of Syrian refugees, Islanders understand cooperation.

Working together comes naturally to us. There are few places that can pull together a concert, festival, or community group as quickly and effectively as Prince Edward Island. 

We see this concept of pulling together throughout our communities. The result is more engagement and more success in bringing ideas to fruition. Islanders care about one another and believe that their own success is strongly tied to the success of others. A rising tide lifts all boats.

By working together, we can foster and sustain the conditions where Prince Edward Island culture - and its diversity - flourishes. Citizens, cultural organizations, businesses, interest groups, and government all have important roles to play. 

Cultivating Growth builds tools to help Islanders work together to meet our cultural goals.

Recognized Abundance

Abundance is about wealth - whether that richness is material or not. Abundance is having plenty.

In Prince Edward Island, we have an abundance of natural resources, beautiful landscapes, talented individuals, strong communities, and dynamic expressions of our culture through arts and heritage. We have an abundance of ideas, information, and knowledge. This abundance gives us choices and opportunities for growth.

While resources abound in our province, nothing new is gained without hard work. Islanders’ ingenuity, strong work ethic, and practicality are all part of our collective identity. And they are the reason why our province has always defied its physical size. Islanders have always punched above our collective weight - and continue to do so. 

Cultivating Growth recommends finding more ways to share our abundance with one another. And with the rest of the world.

Aiming for Excellence

Islanders value an authentic and resilient cultural identity, and want a strong vision for that identity in the plan. Supporting authenticity and resilience must be the standards against which we make decisions for investments and supports. This valuation will require that only our best efforts are rewarded and that we regularly evaluate our actions to ensure we reach those standards.

A commitment to excellence provides an opportunity to lead, as a province, and to design a strategy for professional and sustainable cultural growth.

Cultivating Growth encourages high standards and building capacity so that Islanders can achieve and surpass those standards.

The path forward

Culture matters deeply to Islanders. That message was heard time and time again. Culture is an essential part of who we are as a people and what we have to offer as a province. It is rich, and it is strong.

This plan aims to sustain that culture by transforming the ways in which we support and strengthen our creative industries in Prince Edward Island. Over the coming months and years, our actions will be guided by four principles.

Building on Strengths

Cultivating Growth reflects our ancestral roots and our deep love and respect for our traditions. Stewardship extends to preserving and contributing our tangible and intangible heritage. It includes our land, resources, and people. 

Technology facilitates new pathways to animating our heritage and broadening our audience. By valuing Island cultural traditions through engagement, education and preservation, we minimize the risk of losing important elements of our heritage.

Islanders value our rich traditions and want to see them carried forward. It is not about living in the past, but sharing and understanding our past to help us move forward. We want the world to see and remember Prince Edward Island.

Creating Access and Belonging

Our quality of life is enhanced through engagement with - and enjoyment of - our wide variety of artistic and cultural offerings from diverse communities in Prince Edward Island. These offerings range from music, theatre, arts, crafts, literature, film, dance to museums and heritage. They include our natural environment, food experiences, and local festivals and events. We have an opportunity to celebrate the intersection of all of these things.

Our Island culture has been made from the broad collection of voices that make up who we are. However, some barriers to participation and employment do exist.  Cost, perception, and geography are all challenges we must meet. 

We are proud of our ancestral roots - Mi’kmaq, Acadian, Irish, Scottish, African, Lebanese and others. While each culture has different histories and experiences, we share common threads. These threads have been woven together to create a common culture of resilience, adaptation, and survival. It is our contemporary Island identity. It is what makes us tenacious and hardworking. The stories of our newcomer and refugee communities, making their homes in Prince Edward Island today, will be the newest threads in our Island quilt. 

Encouraging the Arts and Creative Industries

Islanders deeply value our creative industries. When we think of Milton Acorn, Stompin’ Tom, Lucy Maud Montgomery or Angele Arsenault, we feel connected to the power of these artists to engage others and express a part of Prince Edward Island through their art.

The arts and creative industries enrich our lives in both tangible and intangible ways. They bring intrinsic value by expressing our identity and by telling our stories. Directly, they contribute more than $123 million annually to our provincial economy.

The arts are at the heart of all creative industries. Design (such as interior, graphic, architecture, industrial, fashion and engineering), marketing, publishing, video production, gaming and virtual reality, fashion, and the beauty industry are all artistic pursuits. Music recording, broadcast, print publication, podcast, blogs, and other digital storytelling are all artistic pursuits. These pursuits are among the fastest growing in Prince Edward Island and need to be encouraged.

The role of the artist in society, whether as an artistic pursuit or a creative industry, is to challenge, lift, lead, and express the culture around them. But artists and cultural workers are also just that: workers. They are often self-employed and enterprising entrepreneurs. Hybrid careers are common - as are careers based in more than one province or country. Meeting the need of these workers in a sector that is being disrupted daily through technology requires looking at business and economic development differently. Growth needs an environment where artists and cultural workers can showcase their talents - thereby expanding their possibilities for sustainable success.

Advance Learning and Expertise

We enhance and build our cultural and artistic literacy in Prince Edward Island in both formal and informal ways. We begin as children and learn throughout our lives. A commitment to lifelong learning will increase our opportunities for both economic advancement and “prosperity for the soul.”

Our education system recognizes the value of culture through integrating the arts within early learning, K-12 curriculum, and post-secondary studies. It ensures that all Islanders have opportunities to explore, learn, and develop artistic abilities and expressions. Curriculum that integrates heritage brings to life the diversity of our communities and traditions in Prince Edward Island.

Educational opportunities for increased cultural literacy in Prince Edward Island include fostering learning opportunities for emerging artists, arts workers, cultural workers, and creative industry workers.  More informally, intergenerational and community learning events and programs increase Islanders’ knowledge of our cultural heritage, community heritage, and arts and cultural skills.

Expertise leads to growth in the capacity of any industry or institution. Standards mark the path toward excellence by ensuring competence, integrity, and transparency. Professionalization requires that a set of standards or best practices be established and followed. Incubating and supporting arts and creative industry workers to have the highest standards - whether as a songwriter or craftsperson, an arts organization director or board member, an industry association or a training institution - is the foundation upon which all success, innovation and growth in the creative industries are built.

Working Through Partnerships

Cultivating Growth identifies the following groups as partners in building upon ideas proposed by this plan. By working together, these groups represent a positive, focused, strategic direction for Island culture.

The Arts and the Creative Economy

Like other sectors, creative industries have the same goals that are outlined within the Atlantic Growth Strategy which means having a trained, skilled workforce with the resources required to grow their industries through accessing markets locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

A skilled, professional workforce also attracts investment from around the world. Prince Edward Island's Framework for Economic Growth also echoes the goals for creative industries. From entrepreneurship and innovation to community development, attracting newcomers, and opportunities to export around the world, this sector will contribute to the growth and success of our economy.

Cultivating Growth recognizes that many arts and cultural workers experience non-standard or precarious employment and as a result can have lower income levels than those with similar training and skill development. Support for workers and investments in creative industries create opportunities for increased participation in the workforce and/or entrepreneurial success.

Reconciliation with Indigenous People

Epekwitk is the traditional home of the Mi’kmaq. In the spirit of friendship and reconciliation, we will help to maintain and grow Mi’kmaq culture. Through education, both formal and informal, we will learn about and from Mi’kmaq teachings, customs, and traditions. We will partner with Indigenous communities and individuals to help them thrive and succeed in modern economies and society.

Artistic and Cultural Institutions

Institutions that create, disseminate, and help interpret communal, artistic and cultural knowledge are the physical manifestations of our culture. They can be meeting places and/or places to discover new knowledge, delight and entertain. Think libraries, museums, galleries, theatres, cultural organizations and societies, community centres, houses of worship and rinks. Looking to today and the future, some of these institutions are digital in nature. They are all “front line” transmitters of arts and culture. These institutions are the platforms from which we can tell our stories to one another and the world. They are also spaces where we can invite the world in, to be consumed and enjoyed by our communities.

Heritage and Stewardship

The protection and transmission/dissemination of natural and cultural heritage is important. We will focus on both tangible heritage (such as buildings and monuments) and intangible heritage (such as customs, expressions, knowledge, artifacts, songs, festivals, seasonal traditions, handmade items and domestic items). All require effort to preserve and sustain. Public engagement is an important way to transmit our hard won knowledge, our mistakes and achievements, our stories of who we are, and our aspirations. Heritage is about telling the story of who we are and is meshed with multiculturalism and diversity.

Our preservation and stewardship of natural heritage contributes to continued biodiversity and protection of culturally significant and/or beloved landscape features.

Working with existing heritage organizations, multiple levels of government and new community groups will help to identify partnerships, collaborations and 21st century models to achieve and sustain their mandates.

Multiculturalism and Diversity

We will build understanding and celebration of unique cultures, heritages, ethnic backgrounds as well as unique identity factors (such as LGBTQ, disabilities and religion) that contribute to the inclusion and well-being of minority groups.

Cultivating Growth understands that Prince Edward Island has long been a haven for people seeking to build new lives. It aims to extend a welcome of place and possibility to all who find themselves Islanders, here and now.  We support opportunities for people to engage in creative pursuits as well as enjoy and participate in cultural activities.

Key Directions and Actions

Claiming Agency

  • Acknowledge the vitality of artistic and creative endeavours by adding Creative Industries and Development to the work of Innovation PEI. (year 1) 
  • Create a Creative Industries Secretariat, within Innovation PEI, and under the direction of the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, that supports creative industries and manages cultural development initiatives in Prince Edward Island. (year 1)
  • Establish a peer review process for cultural and artistic programs and services offerings, including provincial government funding opportunities. (year 1)
  • Establish a Creative Industry Market Development Program that will work with artists, enterprises and industry development groups to help grow creative business and better access new markets. (year 2)
  • Renew annual investment in the Provincial Art Bank and commit to having work displayed in public spaces. Establish new art bank investment for the acquisition of visual art by Island artists. (year 2)
  • Develop a digital archive of the Prince Edward Island Heritage and Museum collection. (years 1-3)
  • Initiate a program for community museums to engage volunteers and youth. (years 1-3)
  • Develop a mobile collection and lending library for Island artifacts and heritage staff to increase access for teachers and community groups. (years 1-3)
  • Invest in a Craft Development Centre in partnership with the Prince Edward Island Crafts Council. (year 1)
  • Invest in public art, festivals and events in communities across Prince Edward Island that reflect and celebrate our local identity. (year 5)
  • Support Island artists create and disseminate their artwork. (ongoing)

Helping Us to Work Together

  • Undertake needs assessment for each creative industry to align programs and services with industry needs and expand opportunities for workers and businesses. (year 1)
  • Focus a position within the provincial government to coordinate, support and develop our creative industries by working with community partners. (year 1)
  • Focus a position within the provincial government to support the development of Island culture by focusing on festivals and events, education programs, artist grants, multicultural/diversity activities, reconciliation initiatives, and heritage. (year 1)
  • Identify creative industries as a strategic sector in Prince Edward Island. (year 1)
  • Initiate meet-ups and networking events for new and established cultural workers. (year 1)
  • Collaborate with Indigenous people to develop learning initiatives about Mi’kmaq history and culture for Islanders and newcomers. (years 3-5)
  • Support participatory spaces where people can develop and display new skills and digital spaces where people with common interests can connect and share ideas, opportunities, and information about Island arts and culture. (year 5)

Striving for Excellence

  • Establish a Prince Edward Island Arts Commission to provide guidance on priority areas and oversee funding for cultural activities to ensure that Islanders’ interest and investment in the arts is maintained and protected. (year 2)
  • Connect certain funding to a peer assessment model administered by the Culture Secretariat and guided by the Prince Edward Island Arts Commission. (year 2)
  • Assign at least one bilingual position to the Culture Secretariat. (year 1)
  • Expand apprenticeship and training, employment, and mentorship programs for people who are (or wish to be) employed in the cultural sector. Develop a mentorship program for theatre professionals. (year 3)
  • Work with post-secondary, community and cultural partners to provide formal training opportunities, whether in short courses or full-time academic programs.  (year 5)
  • Develop accountability guidelines so that investments in artistic and cultural institutions are linked to outcomes and results. (year 1)
  • Initiate performance measurement and evaluation to all services and  programs offered by the Culture Secretariat.(year 1)
  • Modernize program and service offerings through the Culture Secretariat to align them with the direction provided in Cultivating Growth and other provincial priorities. (year 1-5)

Recognizing Abundance

  • Work with community partners to design a government policy that promote the display and distribution of Island arts and culture. (3 years)
  • Create a database of Island artistic creators. (year 5)
  • Encourage expansion of high-speed internet across Prince Edward Island with the purpose of enabling our creative industries and workers to flourish. (years 1-5)
  • Capitalize on new funding by the Government of Canada in Creative industries, including funding for the Canada Media Fund and Canada’s Creative Export Strategy. (year 5)
  • Initiate a local Film Media Fund to support home-grown, independent film and filmmaker development in and for Prince Edward Island. (year 1)
  • Work with community partners to design a government policy to increase the use of Island music and film in promotional material. (year 3)
  • Establish an advisory council to identify and support affordable artist live-work spaces. (year 3)
  • Work with the Government of Canada and local arts organizations to develop creative hubs through the Cultural Spaces Fund. (year 1)
  • Develop an ambassador program for travelling Island artists and seek opportunities to coordinate travel between artists. (year 1)
  • Work with government and community partners to position Prince Edward Island as a cultural hub for potential newcomers. (years 1-3)
  • Find ways to promote and facilitate the export of Island culture and artists in global markets, such as trade missions. (year 3)
  • Invest in Prince Edward Island’s Arts and Heritage Trail. (year 1)
  • Assist cultural sector organizations, industry associations, and cultural communities with strategic business and financial planning, including training in sponsorship and fundraising. (year 2)

From small things, big things come

Our culture comes from our diverse collection of people, each with a proud heritage.

Culture is marked by our seasonal traditions, built heritage, our natural environment, our recreational spaces and pastimes, our milestones, and by the work of our vibrant arts and creative industries.

Culture is active.  It grows with our collaborations, innovations and enterprise – whether it be the genius of an artist presenting the world with a unique perspective, or the way a community works together in the winter after a big snowstorm.

This creativity is the heart of cultural growth. It is both the spark and the ability to ignite that spark.

Culture is about us as a place and people. It is the expression of our identity and our pride. It carries us through our daily lives and builds a foundation for our future.

We are cultivating growth.


Michelle MacCallum
Director of Cultural Development
Innovation PEI
Phone: 902 368-5775


Published date: 
June 6, 2022
Innovation PEI

General Inquiries

Cultural Development Division, Innovation PEI
94 Euston Street
PO Box 910
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7L9
Telephone: 902-368-6300
Toll-free (North America): 1-800-563-3734
Fax: 902-368-6301