Supporting Island, coastal arts organizations to keep their lights on
On Vancouver Island and the Coast, 120 arts and culture organizations have received $3.5 million through the B.C. government’s StrongerBC plan for economic recovery.
“Arts and culture organizations have been working hard to adjust their businesses while adhering to provincial health orders,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Our government values the arts as part of our economic recovery, and we’re here to help them weather the storm. I know this funding comes at a critical time and will help sustain the sector until we can all gather to enjoy arts and culture again.”
As part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, the BC Arts Council provided the Expanded Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to organizations that receive annual operating funding or project grants. Organizations can use the funds to pay for operating costs, like rent and utilities, paying artists and protecting or restoring jobs, such as theatre technicians, production designers or arts administrators.
For example, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is using its supplement to hire a new digital assets co-ordinator and a new educator to develop and deliver online programming. Orca Book Publishers has found ways to shift its business model. It has brought out more digital-first content and pandemic-specific titles, as well as creating new initiatives that capitalize on distance learning and online sales. The company is using the supplement to keep its entire staff employed, creators paid and books still in production.
To make sure organizations got access to funding as soon as possible, the BC Arts Council started rolling out funding in November 2020. The funding is now fully allocated. In total, the Province is providing $15.7 million in supplements to 556 arts and culture organizations in communities throughout B.C.
Bob D’Eith, Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film –
“By supporting the organizations who employ and support artists and arts and culture workers, we are making the sector more resilient and, in turn, keeping our communities vibrant. We know there’s more to do, and I look forward to working directly with the sector to chart our path to recovery.”
Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –
“I’ve been so impressed by how arts and culture organizations have taken on the challenges brought on by the pandemic and adapted to our new circumstances. I’m proud our government is investing in the creative sector, which will support our economic recovery and make sure people continue to have access to creative outlets that support physical and mental well-being.”
Jon Tupper, director, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria –
“We are so grateful to the Province for providing targeted funding for the arts and culture sector. We’ve been open since May, but with limited entry and cancellation of events, our revenues are down. This funding is critical and helps us maintain our day-to-day operations so we can continue to offer cultural experiences for people in Victoria, as well as invest in new forms of virtual programming to engage with our audiences in a safe manner.”
Andrew Wooldridge, publisher, Orca Book Publishers –
“We responded to the pandemic by putting employees, authors and illustrators first. We are finding ways to adapt, like bringing out pandemic titles digitally first, while continuing to do what we do – providing thoughtful books to young readers. The assistance we have received from the BC Arts Council has been critical to our ongoing survival. We owe the BC Arts Council and the Province a huge debt of gratitude for standing with us and supporting us.”
- This supplement is part of $21 million from StrongerBC to support the resilience of the arts and culture sector.
- The B.C. government’s investments in the BC Arts Council have brought its budget to a record high of $35.6 million.
- In addition to these supplements, the BC Arts Council distributed more than $25.6 million for 1,365 grants provincewide from April to December 2020.
To see a full list of recipients, visit: https://www.bcartscouncil.ca/funding/recipients/
Follow BC Arts Council on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCArtsCouncil
Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BritishColumbiaArtsCouncil
A backgrounder follows.
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