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Supporting Lower Mainland arts organizations to keep their lights on

Supporting Lower Mainland arts organizations to keep their lights on

March 5, 2021 at 10:16 am  BC, News, Politics

In the Lower Mainland, 318 arts and culture organizations have received $9.5 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 Cultch in Vancouver is using its supplement to continue its streamed winter and spring programming, including livestreams employing local artists and arts workers. The Cultch is also using the supplement to keep people working and manage its cash flow.

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler has a goal to provide meaningful employment and training for Indigenous people from the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation. The centre is using its supplement keep people employed, bringing strong Indigenous voices to the administrative team. The centre is also using the funding to cover overhead costs.

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.”

Niki Sharma, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings –

“We know this past year has been difficult for everyone, including arts and culture organizations that have had to make big changes to follow provincial health restrictions. As we make it through this pandemic, our government is listening and providing targeted funding to meet the needs of organizations in the Lower Mainland, so they can continue to be there in the future.” 

Heather Paul, executive director, Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre –

Since June, we have been open with strong safety protocols in place, but with limited tourism and gatherings we are experiencing a significant shortfall of revenue compared previous years. This supplement helps cover our expenses and maintain operations until we can welcome people from around the world to learn more about the cultures of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation.”

Heather Redfern, executive director, The Cultch

“When we’re facing all this uncertainty, getting this support from the Province has been vital. This supplement is helping us get through these many months by providing us the opportunity to create performances that audiences at home and around the world can enjoy in their own homes. This is supporting crucial jobs for arts workers in B.C. and showcasing our amazing talent around the world.”

Quick Facts:

  • 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.

Learn More:

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

StrongerBC: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/

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