Building a New Organization: 1974 - 1997

SaskCulture Inc. is a relatively new organization, yet its origins go back to a time when the cultural community in Saskatchewan was searching for ways to work together and secure additional funding sources.

Back in 1980, the Saskatchewan Council of Cultural Organizations (SCCO) was formed as the first umbrella organization for culture in the province. It brought together many different groups in the cultural sector, representing both the volunteer and professional cultural organizations.

For the next 16 years, SCCO assumed increased responsibility for the Culture Section of the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation. Formed in 1974, the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund was seen as an ideal fundraiser for community sport, culture and recreation organizations. Thanks to lottery proceeds, SCCO was able to distribute funding to through its volunteer-based adjudication structure to support a wide range of cultural programming in the province.

The provincial government recognized the value of the community-run lottery system and began adding additional commitments to the Culture Section of the Trust’s funding responsibilities. By 1991, the provincial government had handed most of its cultural funding responsibilities, including the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation, Sask Film, and the Mackenzie Art Gallery over to the lottery system, and at the same time, cut the lottery funding by 25 per cent by increasing the lottery licence fee. SCCO, along with the rest of cultural community, was sent into restructuring mode trying to accommodate this situation. Although a new government pulled all legislated agencies, such as the Saskatchewan Arts Board and Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation, back into government in 1993, SCCO was encouraged by the Minister of the day to continue its restructuring process.

After many task force reports, meetings, consultations and some major delays due to changes in government policy, as well as changing community perspectives, SaskCulture Inc. was officially formed in 1997 and had its first Annual General Meeting in 1998.

Governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors, SaskCulture serves a much broader mandate than its predecessor. Over its history, the organization has continued to mature in its role as a unified voice for culture in Saskatchewan.