The Nova Scotia government has created a four-person committee which will help to establish Arts Nova Scotia.

Once established, Arts Nova Scotia will be an independent body to oversee funding that will go directly to artists.

Dave Wilson, the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, made the announcement Tuesday.

"Once again we're ensuring the arts and culture community has a strong voice in determining the province's priorities for supporting creative excellence," said Wilson in a statement.

"I'm looking forward to receiving input from the transition committee as we move toward establishing Arts Nova Scotia."

The committee members will recommend roles and responsibilities as well as criteria for appointments to the body.

The province expects that Arts Nova Scotia will be operational in the fall of 2011.

Pam Birdsall, an NDP member of the provincial legislature, will chair the committee.

Birdsall is also ministerial assistant for the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and a founding member of the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council.

She will be joined on the committee by Paul Caskey, artistic director with Live Art Dance Productions; Leah Hamilton of Genesis Consulting, an arts consulting company; and Christopher Shore, executive director of Theatre Nova Scotia.

"Improving the quality of resources available to our artists and arts organizations is a key step in assuring Nova Scotian artists remain a vital part of our society," said Caskey. "I look forward to contributing to the development of a strong Arts Nova Scotia."

The NDP government announced in February that it would restore an independent arts council and Arts Nova Scotia is part of a five-point plan to strengthen the arts and culture sector.

The decision came nine years after a former Conservative government dissolved the Nova Scotia Arts Council.

With files from The Canadian Press