Scotland needs to do more to nurture artistic talent, according to culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.
The minister spoke at the launch of a new strategy, which has been backed with more than £1.2m of funding from the Scottish Government.
It includes plans to a create a new advisory body, the National Partnership for Culture, which will work with ministers and be led by former Edinburgh International Festival managing director Joanna Baker.
Meanwhile, an Arts Alive programme is to be set up with the intention of 250 cultural sessions taking place in schools and communities across Scotland.
Ms Hyslop said the new strategy would put culture “at the heart of government”.
She said: “Culture is central to who we are. It is Scotland’s strength.
“This is why it must be valued first and foremost in and of itself – that is to say culture is worth more than any financial value that can be placed on it.”
She added: “A key pillar of the strategy is the recognition that we need to do more to nurture artistic talent and support artists and to add value, recognise and champion artistic excellence.
“We want to harness the power of culture to transform lives, to improve health and well-being, to contribute to the growing economy and to bring creative approaches to design better communities.”
Ms Baker said the strategy was a “powerful assertion of the importance of culture and creativity to the lives of everyone, and of the positive contribution that a rich diversity of cultures and artists makes to Scotland’s place in the world”.
She added: “I welcome the opportunity to work alongside colleagues from across the country and from many different sectors to help to shape the future of support for culture in Scotland.”
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