1948: The creation of the Saskatchewan Arts Board. The agency is the first of its kind in Canada and second in the world to the Arts Council of Great Britain to be established as arms-length: it has an annual allocation of funds received from government sources to be used independent of government control. 

1950: The first artwork purchased for the Arts Board’s Permanent Collection. The piece was McGregor Hone’s By the Radio oil painting. Hone was born in Prince Albert in 1920. He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan and studied art in Saskatoon and in London, England. 


1966: The establishment of the Globe Theatre in Regina. The Globe is the first professional educational theatre company in Saskatchewan. The Arts Board was instrumental in the creation of the company, which is Canada’s only permanent, professional “theatre in the round”. Another company established in the same time period was the Circle in the Centre in Saskatoon. 

1966: The Saskatchewan School for the Arts began. The Arts Board consolidated writing and drama workshops and a kids music camp, added painting and brought 300 students together in Caronport for the Saskatchewan Summer School for the Arts. The school was subsequently moved to Fort San with expanded offerings, reaching a peak of 1,350 students in 1974, and ran until 1989. 

1979: Creation of the craft collection as part of the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s Permanent Collection. Throughout 1979 and 1980, as a Celebrate Saskatchewan project, the Arts Board worked with the Saskatchewan Craft Council to make purchases from all of the major craft exhibitions and markets throughout the province. The works acquired for the collection reflect the full diversity of contemporary craft then created in the province, and they form the nucleus of the craft portion of the Permanent Collection, which currently numbers almost 700 works. 


1983-85: Five from Saskatchewan exhibition goes international. The exhibition travelled to Canada House in London, England; the Canadian Cultural Centre in Brussels, Belgium; the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, France; and the Alexander Konig Museum in Bonn, Germany. Artists featured were Eli Bornstein, Joe Fafard, Dorothy Knowles, Ernest Lindner and Otto Rogers.


1989: First Lifetime Achievement Awards given. The Saskatchewan Arts Board awarded 26 Lifetime Achievement Awards to prominent members of the Saskatchewan arts community between 1989 and 1999. The first honourees were Lea Collins, Ernest Lindner, W.O. Mitchell, William A. Riddell and David Smith. The awards program was expanded and became the Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards in 2004 and the Saskatchewan Arts Awards in 2016. 


1997: Creation of The Arts Board Act, 1997. The act directs the agency to cultivate the professional arts for the benefit of the people of Saskatchewan, create advisory mechanisms to assist in policy and program development, support and encourage the arts of Aboriginal peoples and ethnic communities and engage peer-review juries to make independent assessments and funding recommendations. 


2005: LIVE Arts goes live. The program engages teachers and students in an interactive distance learning experience. Professional artists provide grade-specific broadcast programs in drama, dance, music and the visual arts. Even the most remote rural communities are reached by the program, with more than 30,000 Saskatchewan students participating in 2016. 


2018: Online grant applications launched. The Arts Board launches our online application system, joining a national network of arts funders working on the Smart Simple platform. Long a part of our strategic plan, online applications will be an important initiative in ensuring that our work stays relevant and that we are able to respond to the needs of the community.



2. McGregor Hone, By the Radio, 1950, oil on panel

3. Globe Theatre in Regina. Photo courtesy of the Globe Theatre

4. The Saskatchewan School for the Arts. Photo courtesy of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix

5. Anita Rocamora, Winter, 1979, porcelain, cork

6. Ernest Lindner, Ridge, 1963, watercolour on paper

7. David Smith, one of the founders of the Saskatchewan Arts Board

9. A LIVE Arts broadcast in Maymont with dance artist Karla Kloeble. Photo: Jan Friesen