With almost one quarter of its labour force employed in the arts, Cape Dorset, Nunavut, is Canada's most artistic municipality, according to a report released Monday.
The tiny northern community has 110 artists among its total labour force of 485, giving it "an artistic concentration of 22.7 per cent," a government-funded study entitled Artists in Small and Rural Municipalities in Canada reported Monday.
"There are significant concentrations of artists in small and rural municipalities in many areas of the country [which] demonstrates that the arts contribute to the quality of life and the social and economic vitality of many small and rural communities in Canada," the report said.
Cape Dorset, which calls itself the "Capital of Inuit Art," has been renowned for its carving and printmaking for decades. It has grown from a population of less than 200 in the 1960s to more than 1,000 in 2001.
"Artists make up nearly one quarter of the labour force in the self-titled 'Capital of Inuit Art.'"
The island's tiny community of artists began to emerge on the international art scene in the 1950s when Inuit art advocate James Houston began trumpeting the work of such artists as Kenojuak Ashevak, who has since been named a companion to the Order of Canada and a member of Canada's Walk of Fame for her prints and drawings.
British Columbia was well represented on the list of Canada's top artistic municipalities, with Squamish-Lillooet placing second after Cape Dorset, with an artistic concentration of 9.4 per cent, followed by Comox-Strathcona, B.C., and Bowen Island, B.C. At number five was Sutton, Que.
Overall, B.C. is the province with the largest percentage of its labour force employed in the arts (1.1 per cent or 24,100 artists).
Funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ontario Arts Council, the study was compiled by Hill Strategies Research Inc.
The report classified artists as those who worked in nine arts categories: actors; artisans and craftspersons; conductors, composers and arrangers; dancers; musicians and singers; other performers (e.g. circus, puppeteers); painters, sculptors and other visual artists; producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations; and writers.
For the report, small and rural municipalities are defined as census subdivisions with fewer than 50,000 residents, based on 2001 municipal boundaries.
Previous reports by Hill Strategies have indicated that 130,700 Canadians work as artists across the country and represent 0.8 per cent of the overall labour force.