The LRC Presents…

The Evolving Role of the Arts in Canada

A lively discussion on the arts' changing role in Canada today - and where they're headed - with Jeffrey Melanson, the Executive Director and co-CEO of Canada's National Ballet School.

What makes our cultural institutions thrive, what new challenges do they face, and how can we best support them? Jeff Melanson provides a tour of the evolving role of arts in Canada, from the 1960s and 1970s, when culture-building was used as a force for nation-building, through to the 1990s, and early 2000s, when the emphasis shifted to city-building. Models for the arts funding are evolving as well: at the National Ballet School, Melanson has increased revenues by over 50%, while forgiving new partnerships with both non-profit and for-profit arts groups. He notes that technology is also changing our relationship to culture. “In Canada we’re building more venues for live performances, even as the data show we’re spending more hours glued to our computers and TVs. Where does that leave us?”

Introductory remarks provided by Scott Mullin (Vice President, Community Relations, TD Bank Group).


Jeff Melanson is the President of the Banff Centre and former Executive Director and co-CEO of Canada’s National Ballet School. He is a trustee with the National Guild of Community Schools for the Arts (U.S.) and was the first arts leader to be appointed one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2009.


This event was presented with the generous support of TD Bank Group

This event is co-produced with Big Ideas