Support announced for Interior arts and culture
The B.C. government June 12 announced relief for artists and organizations from the BC Arts Council.
“Arts and culture bring people together and have the ability to help us heal during the pandemic,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “By supporting artists and arts organizations, we are ensuring that the culture sector can come back strong in the future.”
After advancing 50% of operating funding immediately in April, the BC Arts Council is distributing the remaining 50% to organizations this July.
Combined, organizations throughout the province will receive more than $15 million total to help give them certainty and flexibility as they budget for the year, a Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture media release stated.
Many of the recipients are finding new ways to reach audiences during the pandemic. For example, Nelson’s arts council is taking all of its annual programming online, including its flagship event, ArtWalk. On June 26 and July 31, the council will livestream presentations by local performance artists on its website and social media.
Businesses will also share featured posts of visual artists whose artwork they would have hung on their walls and a digital gallery will be available, so Kootenay artists have an opportunity to sell their work.
The BC Arts Council also launched a microgrant pilot program to support artists to continue to make art and develop their practice during the pandemic.
The program was possible thanks to a donation from the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation. Until June 30, artists and cultural practitioners can apply for up to $1,500 to help adapt to changes in the sector. For example, artists can use the grant to learn video editing or livestream a performance.
“We’ve provided support to organizations and now we’re focusing on the heart of our sector – individual artists,” said Susan Jackson, chair, BC Arts Council. “These new microgrants will help artists and cultural practitioners adapt existing projects or aspects of their practice to meet new challenges. The grants are designed to respond quickly, to support artists with immediate creative development opportunities.”
“Arts and culture are so important to our community, and groups like the Nelson and District Arts Council have been finding creative ways to keep us enjoying artists safely in a time of physical distancing. I’m very proud that our government is supporting their work to keep our communities vibrant as we carefully restart our economy,” said Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston.
The B.C. government’s investments in the BC Arts Council have brought its budget to a record high. From December 2019 to March 2020, the BC Arts Council distributed more than $14 million for over 800 grants province-wide.