More artists and arts and culture organizations throughout the province will benefit from changes to the way the BC Arts Council provides funding to support calls to action for reconciliation, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
The BC Arts Council’s Extending Foundations: Action Plan 2022-2024 marks a renewal in the focus of the BC Arts Council that is aimed at breaking down systemic barriers within its policies and programs to expand opportunities for those who have historically been underserved.
“Artists are important. Prioritizing equity and reflecting the diversity of the people of B.C. in the distribution of arts and culture funding is a priority of the BC Arts Council and a focus that is long overdue,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Artists are vital to the vibrancy of B.C. communities. Ensuring that more voices and perspectives are heard is an essential part of building a robust, meaningful arts and culture sector. I’m proud of the seven actions that will recalibrate the important work the arts council does on behalf of government.”
The action plan is a model for systemic change based on existing actions and commitments of the BC Arts Council reflected in its previous strategic plan, New Foundations: 2018-2022, and feedback received during Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film Bob D’Eith’s 22 stakeholder consultations, which were held in the summer of 2021. Extending Foundations: Action Plan 2022-2024 identifies seven key action areas of the council for the next two years:
- Strategic Visioning and Planning
- Diversity, Equity and Access Program Supports
- Process and Procedure Improvements
- Modernize Peer Assessment
- Rebalance of Funding Distribution
- Maintaining the Arts Impact Grant Program
- Continued support for the Arts Infrastructure Program
“Through the pandemic, we heard clearly from artists and arts and culture organizations that more needed to be done to reflect the diversity of people living in B.C.,” D’Eith said. “By working together with a desire to change the status quo, we are delivering on those changes through the actions laid out in the BC Arts Council’s two-year plan. I commend the council for their commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion within B.C.’s arts and culture sector. Our society is stronger when more perspectives are reflected.”
The work will be accomplished in collaboration with the arts and culture community, elected leaders and the council. D’Eith will host another series of regional roundtables over the course of the next year to ensure that the arts and culture sector has an opportunity to be engaged in discussions and considerations in leading to further renewal in 2024.
This new direction is part of a longer process that began with record investments from government to the council since 2017 to set up B.C. to succeed in the long term.
Stan Chung, chair, BC Arts Council –
“The past two years have been a period of profound reckoning across the arts and culture sector. We have grappled not only with the pandemic, but with the systemic biases that have historically underpinned the council’s work. The new strategy is an opportunity for us to move forward with work that will forge a more equitable and socially just role for public arts funding that is based in reconciliation and healing.”
Dana Claxton, vice-chair, BC Arts Council –
“We are proud to present this plan for change. As a Lakota artist and professor, I stand beside my colleagues today and welcome the changes that are being introduced. As the BC Arts Council enters its second quarter century, this is an opportunity to play a leadership role in carving out a new direction for public arts funding and to support what the sector has so clearly stated that it wants and needs. We are making these changes in a good way.”
Arts Club Theatre Company, Arts Umbrella, Ballet BC, Bard on the Beach, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Opera, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra –
“We are encouraged by the goals of the BC Arts Council’s inclusive and equity-driven approach in support of our vibrant community of arts organizations here in B.C. We look forward to sharing in the great work that is sure to be created and presented across the arts sector thanks to the ongoing support of the BC Arts Council.”
Link to The BC Arts Council’s Foundations: Action Plan 2022-2024: https://www.bcartscouncil.ca/priorities/
A backgrounder follows.