There’s the stuff you’ve been doing all along. Maybe you didn’t know it was really helping—probably you were just doing what you had to do. Still, Jennifer Dyer’s been telling me that all that stuff, that’s what made you all so good at what you do.

Like recently when the city announced cuts to arts funding? You all got together so fast. (To quote Dyer, you are the “amazingly-quick-to-mobilize arts groups.”) And on the day that I am writing this article, this morning, all you publishers and writers and supporters of the arts got together at Broken Books to publicly ask the provincial government to reverse their decision to be the first province in Canada to tax books.

On the same day, The Telegram published a story about how the budget will impact you all, the arts communities. Another austerity budget protest is scheduled for this coming Friday and members of the arts communities will be key organizers and participants.

The arts communities in Newfoundland—you all get together and get stuff done. Not just funding protest stuff either; you are all constantly figuring out how to work with each other. This openness to working together as artists and lovers-of-art is one of three things Jennifer Dyer named as your strengths when I met with her to ask about her Harris Centre-funded research into arts communities and patterns of funding in Newfoundland and Labrador.

During our conversation, professor Dyer sort-of-completely confirmed what I’d noticed during my eight years in Newfoundland and Labrador. The stuff she listed also totally reflected what I’ve loved about the arts communities in the province. I didn’t think of it as a strength before, though, it just was.

Second and third, Dyer said, are volunteering and working. Volunteering, it turns out, “is a very strong tradition” here. “A lot of people who don’t identify as artists volunteer to make art happen.”

But did you ever think of your Newfoundland and Labradorian tradition of holding down a job while also pursuing an arts career as a strength? Dyer identifies it as such.

I noticed this when I moved here: it seemed that every other person I met had an artistic practice that they pursued in their non-working hours. This openness to juggling art and a job “is massive. There’s an awful lot of people who are working because you can’t get by as an artist right now,” Dyer said.

All the same, the goal of most arts producers is to be able to do the creative work full-time. Dyer’s research will support that. Because even though you’ve got all those strengths, what you don’t have is data about money and arts.

“We need to be able to say here’s what we need funding for, here’s how we’re going to use it, and even here’s the best way to use it. We don’t know this. The arts groups themselves don’t have that information available. So this is what I want to do.”