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Lower Mainland artists, organizations pivot through the pandemic

Lower Mainland artists, organizations pivot through the pandemic

May 1, 2021 at 11:10 am  BC, News, Politics

More than 180 artists and arts and culture organizations in the Lower Mainland are getting support to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People in the arts have used their ingenuity to find new ways to keep creating despite the pandemic,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Artists are so vital to our social and cultural fabric. These grants are empowering artists and organizations throughout B.C. to adapt their platforms so they can continue inspiring us.”

Faced with temporary closures of venues and restricted audience sizes, artists and organizations have found ways to keep creating and reaching their audiences. To support these necessary pivots, the B.C. government is providing a total of $4.3 million in grants to 189 artists and organizations in the Lower Mainland.

For example, the Health Arts Society in Vancouver received a grant to help move their Concerts in Care from in-person to digital, so seniors living in care can still enjoy the work of B.C.’s professional musicians. Coast Salish-based artist Davey Calderon’s grant allows him to adapt his solo drag and karaoke play into an interactive livestream performance.

These grants to support arts and culture organizations’ recovery are made possible in part through $5.3 million from StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The BC Arts Council administered the grants, which are now fully distributed. More than 135 artists and 155 organizations throughout B.C. have received a total of $6.6 million to support their adaptations.


Bob DEith, Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film –

“We know artists and arts and culture organizations have struggled this past year because they can’t welcome live audiences. We’ve worked closely with the sector to understand their needs and support them to pivot. It’s encouraging to see these projects take shape and to hear these stories of resilience.”

Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission –

“Arts and culture help keep our communities vibrant, and I am proud of these organizations that have been able to pivot and keep creating throughout the pandemic. Our government knows that these organizations need support, and that’s why they’re providing this funding from StrongerBC. We are all looking forward to the day that we can enjoy arts and culture together again.”

Raymond Aucoin, managing director of Health Arts Society –

“Our audiences are seniors living in care – the demographic most gravely affected by the pandemic. The current isolation underscores the importance of maintaining a conduit between our elders and the performance community. It has been vital to pivot concert delivery to reach our audience online.”

Davey Calderon, artist –

“Like everyone in the performing arts, I miss performing in person. But thanks to this grant, I can adapt my show to engage audiences virtually and increase access for those that cannot attend venues anyways. This support from the BC Arts Council meaningfully helps artists like me through these difficult times.”

Quick Facts:

  • Through StrongerBC, the B.C. government has provided $35 million in targeted recovery funding to the arts and culture sector through the BC Arts Council.
  • From April 2020 to March 2021, the BC Arts Council distributed more than 3,000 grants provincewide – the most grants the council has ever distributed.
  • Thanks to investments from the B.C. government, the BC Arts Council’s budget for 2021-22 is $39.6 million, a record high.

Learn More:

To see the full list of Pivot grant recipients: https://www.bcartscouncil.ca/funding/recipients/

Follow BC Arts Council on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCArtsCouncil
Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BritishColumbiaArtsCouncil

For a French translation, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021TACS0029-000787#translations

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