More recovery support coming for B.C.’s art, culture sector

April 1, 2022 at 11:12 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

More than $12.4 million in one-time funding to the BC Arts Council will support a strong recovery for B.C. artists and organizations as the Province continues to build back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know the hardships and severe impacts artists and creative people have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “This additional funding responds to a call to action to empower people to overcome challenges brought on by the pandemic. We know that this funding is crucial for B.C. artists and cultural organizations to begin their road to economic recovery and to rebuild a thriving and dynamic sector that supports our communities’ economic and social well-being throughout B.C.”

From this funding, the BC Arts Council will distribute $7.9 million in resilience supplements to more than 300 organizations currently receiving operating assistance. The average grant amount is $25,000.

Additionally, BC Arts Council has allocated $4.5 million to top up the Arts Impact Grant program, which closed its intake in January 2022. The Arts Impact Grant program enables applicants to prioritize activities that provide the greatest and most meaningful impact to their organization, practice or community. The next intake of this program is anticipated for winter 2023.

“I am proud of the actions our government has taken in making available this substantial investment in funding for the arts and culture sector,” said Bob D’Eith, Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film. “This funding is vital in setting B.C. up for recovery and meets the needs of the sector to increase flexibility in grant funding criteria that better reflects the diversity of the arts sector, which is a central part of the Arts Impact Grant program.”

The Arts Impact Grant program signals a new focus on flexibility, equity, inclusion and diversity in how the BC Arts Council supports arts and culture organizations. Funding is available to organizations and collectives with an arts and culture mandate or a dedicated arts and culture program. Grants are available to non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and community organizations. The additional $4.5 million boosted the program’s budget to more than $8 million, which has allowed for grants to more than 300 organizations.

One of the recipients of the Arts Impact Grant is the Vancouver Cantonese Opera (VCO), which received a $30,000 grant to support the documentary, The Making of the Prop Master’s Dream. This documentary follows Cantonese opera performer and VCO artistic director Rosa Cheng as she leads the production of The Prop Master’s Dream. This is a fusion opera that depicts the life story of Wah-Kwan Gwan, a Cantonese opera performer and prop maker who was born in 1929 in Vancouver to a Chinese father and an Indigenous mother. The Prop Master’s Dream is set to open in November 2022.

“We are tremendously grateful to receive this funding through the Arts Impact Grant program,” Cheng said. “This documentary explores Chinese-Indigenous relations in B.C. and highlights the diverse team of artists and cultural advisors that were instrumental in depicting Wah-Kwan’s extraordinary life and story, which deserves to be preserved, honoured and celebrated.”

Arts and culture roundtables, held by the parliamentary secretary for arts and film in summer 2021, consisted of 22 virtual meetings throughout the province with participation by more than 200 organizations. The feedback from these meetings included requests for additional supports for pandemic restart and recovery, and increased access to funding for infrastructure and equipment. There was also a request for an increased focus on supporting calls to action for reconciliation as well as equity, diversity and inclusion in the distribution of BC Arts Council grants.

Quick Facts:

  • B.C. has the highest concentration of artists and cultural workers in Canada.
  • The BC Arts Council’s budget is at a record high of $39.6 million that supports more than 600 organizations and hundreds of artists and cultural practitioners throughout B.C.
  • In fiscal year 2020-21, the Province provided more than $40 million in COVID-19 supports to the arts and culture sector through the BC Arts Council ($35 million through StrongerBC and $5.2 million in reallocations through the BC Arts Council budget.)
  • B.C. is also investing nearly $30 million for fairs, festivals and events recovery.

Learn More:

BC Arts Council:

Recipients from the Arts Impact Grant program:

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