Struggling to keep afloat amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, arts and culture organizations across the Lower Mainland will keep their lights on a little longer thanks to recent provincial funding.
As part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, the BC Arts Council provided $9.5 million to 318 organizations that receive annual operating funding or project grants. A March 5 press release stated that organizations can use the funds to pay for rent and utilities as well as employees including artists, theatre technicians and production designers.
Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport recognizes the hard work arts organizations have put in while adhering to provincial health orders.
“Our government values the arts as part of our economic recovery, and we’re here to help them weather the storm,” Mark said. “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.”
The Cultch theatre in Vancouver is one such business benefiting from the fund. The theatre will be using the funding to continue its live-streamed streamed winter and spring programming.
“When we’re facing all this uncertainty, getting this support from the province has been vital,” said Heather Redfern, The Cultch’s executive director. “This is supporting crucial jobs for arts workers in B.C. and showcasing our amazing talent around the world.”
Another organization to benefit from the fund is the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. Since June the centre has been open but with safety protocols in place. Though with limited tourism and gatherings the centre’s revenue has been falling.
“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,” said Heather Paul the centre’s executive director.
The BC Arts Council started rolling out funding in November 2020 and now the funding is fully allocated. In total, the province has provided $15.7 million to 556 arts and culture organizations in communities throughout B.C.