The provincial government announced it will be investing $. million into New Brunswick’s hard-hit arts sector as part of the budget announced on Tuesday.

Though it’s nowhere near the $. million ArtsLink NB and other arts organizations asked for in January, ArtsLink executive director Julie Whitenect says they are pleased with the announcement.

“This is a program that’s not seen an investment since I believe so it’s been a long time and the sector has not been recovering as quickly as some sectors hit by the pandemic,” she said in an interview on Thursday.

Philippe Beaulieu, president of the AAAPNB, an organization representing francophone artists in the province, agrees.

“We’re accustomed to not getting what we ask for; most of the time we don’t get anything. But this time, . million, it’s a step in the right direction,” he said on Thursday.

He’s hoping this will be a reoccurring investment, as there was an increased demand for arts grants before the pandemic, and with many artists having left the industry, there is a need to rebuild long-term.

“The . million this year cannot be a one-shot deal. It has to be a recurring investment for the next five, six years,” he said.

Beaulieu said that with three out of jobs having been lost in N.B.’s arts sector, the funding doesn’t fix everything but does provide some hope.

Whitenect is hoping the money will be invested in bolstering the current programs in place, like existing supports for the publishing and the film industry.

Beaulieu says inflationary pressures impacting the arts and entertainment budget for many is a major concern.

“One thing that we’ll have to work on really hard is to get the public to come back to the performing arts, to fill up the seats,” he said.

“I’m hopeful that at this point people are just so eager to do something that they once again turn to the arts as a way for them to reconnect with their community.”