Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC)

Since 1968, OSAC and its members have been instrumental in integrating culture into the lives of Saskatchewan residents. The group of volunteers who founded the organization represented arts councils from Weyburn, Yorkton, Estevan, Swift Current, the Battlefords, Prince Albert, Nipawin and Moose Jaw. The main purpose of the original arts councils was to sponsor the Festival of the Arts organized by the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Once this program was discontinued, the groups decided to remain in existence and to continue to sponsor cultural activities in their communities. OSAC is now a vital network of over fifty volunteer-run arts councils and seventy school centres, which extends throughout the province.

OSAC, a non-profit organization not directly funded by government, is unique in Canada. Financial support is received from the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Department of Canadian Heritage. It coordinates the touring of both visual and performing arts in the province; and its provincial conference, the Saskatchewan Showcase of the Arts, is held in the fall each year. OSAC provides the Saskatchewan Art on the Move Visual Arts Touring Program and Performing Arts Programs to its members. Programming includes the Stars for Saskatchewan series, first organized in 1975; early artists included Maureen Forrester and the Canadian Brass. The Koncerts for Kids program was introduced in 1986, and in 1994 the Saskatchewan Junior Concert Society merged with OSAC. These programs assist arts councils in organizing performing arts series for adult and family audiences. OSAC provides funding to its members to assist with visual arts programming and performing artist fees. On an annual basis, approximately 250 live performances and 100 visual art exhibitions are presented to over 100,000 people in Saskatchewan. OSAC members are dedicated volunteers, committed to making culture a vital part of community life. They develop and encourage local interest in the arts, and ensure a solid future for culture in the province.

Nancy Martin