People throughout the islands and south coast can continue to enjoy arts and culture thanks to targeted 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.
Many of the recipients, like Pacific Opera Victoria, are finding new ways to reach audiences during the pandemic. Pacific Opera Victoria is reimagining its season with online broadcasts, pop-up sidewalk performances and even how-to videos of opera singers demonstrating correct handwashing techniques.
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, 2020, 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 of the 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.”
These actions build on the Province’s ongoing support for the arts and culture sector. In March, the BC Arts Council launched its $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement, as well as advancing 50% of operating funding to organizations and changing program requirements in response to COVID-19.
Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –
“Now more than ever we need arts and culture in our lives. It provides connection and helps strengthen and bring life to our communities. I’m proud to see our government listened to the needs of Victoria artists and is providing extra relief to arts and culture organizations to keep our communities vibrant as we carefully restart our economy.”
Ian Rye, CEO, Pacific Opera Victoria –
“We are grateful for the BC Arts Council's responsiveness to the needs of artists and arts organizations during this crisis. Council's support for cultural workers and the art forms in which they work and create is important for their survival and for the long-term vitality of the arts in B.C.”
- The B.C. government has also provided the following COVID-19 relief for the arts and culture sector:
- To support arts and culture through community programming and services that are important to B.C.’s social fabric, the BC Arts Council provided $200,000 to the Vancouver Foundation’s Community Response Fund.
- The B.C. government provided $123,000 to the BC Museums Association for resilience grants to small- and medium-sized museums throughout B.C.
- To support the music industry, the B.C. government and Creative BC launched Showcase BC, an online hub for creative content, as well as microgrants for B.C. musicians.
- 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 provincewide.
- The COVID-19 Action Plan provides $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.
Apply now for a BC Arts Council microgrant: https://www.bcartscouncil.ca/program/microgrant-program/
Watch an opera singer teach you how to wash your hands: https://pacificopera.ca/event/handwashing/
For a full list of BC Arts Council Grant recipients, visit: https://www.bcartscouncil.ca/funding/recipients/
Follow #ShowcaseBC on Twitter or check out B.C. creative content on Showcase BC: https://showcasebc.ca
Find out about provincial supports for people and businesses: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support
Follow the BC Arts Council to find out about programs and deadlines:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BritishColumbiaArtsCouncil/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCArtsCouncil
For a French translation: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/IslandArts_2020_FR.pdf