Arts and culture organizations in 55 communities around the province are benefiting from a special community resilience grants program.
The $535,000 pilot program is designed to enhance community engagement and strengthen resilience in B.C.’s smaller communities, through the restorative and connective power of arts and culture.
Sixty-one grants have been awarded, with 29 going to communities in wildfire-affected regions, and another 32 for projects that support Indigenous culture through band councils, friendship centres, and other Indigenous organizations.
The program was announced by Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and MLA for Stikine, on behalf of Lana Popham, acting Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture.
“People not only come together through culture, they also heal and connect,” said Popham. “I am especially proud that this pilot program is helping people living in areas impacted by last year’s wildfires, and is celebrating and supporting Indigenous cultural resiliency. Our government is committed to helping all British Columbians to have better futures, and funding projects like these are one important way we are supporting recovery and growth in these communities.”
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre in Smithers is one of the grant recipients. The centre received funding for a program which connects Elders and youth to transfer important traditional knowledge, including language, the use of cultural items (such as bent boxes) and other cultural activities. As part of the project, community members will embark on a solidarity paddle, which brings together several Nations on a canoe journey of cultural immersion and mentorship.
“We know that small communities in B.C. experience many environmental, social and economic hardships,” said Donaldson. “These grants will go a long way to improve the lives of those struggling to overcome natural and social devastation, by showcasing the unique culture, art and enduring strength of all people in this province.”
Launched in February 2018 through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the pilot program received 138 applications between February and early March. Applications were received from all over British Columbia.
Grants of up to $15,000 were provided for projects that include community arts and culture celebrations, Indigenous cultural camps, concerts, youth murals, festivals, community feasts, photography and video series, original books, Elder cultural workshops, performances and Indigenous dance troupes.
- The Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture Program, through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, supports community engagement and resilience through the power of arts and culture in communities experiencing hardship
- The Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture Program grants support Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.
- The objectives of the program are to empower communities to leverage the proven benefits of arts and culture to:
- promote individual well-being;
- foster social cohesion, connection, inclusion and engagement;
- encourage resilience, sustainability and community pride; and
- diversify local economies.
For more information about the community resilience program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/sports-culture/arts-culture/arts-and-culture-initiatives/community-resilience
A list of funded projects can be found at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/sports-culture/arts-culture/arts-and-culture-initiatives/community-resilience/2018-funding-recipients