Tuesday February 22, 2011

Community News 

Arts Funds Fickle But Still Flowing

Chilliwack groups set to get slice of $5.7M pie

Staff/Voice file photos


n Monday, the BC Arts Council announced the board had approved $72,000 in grants going to various groups and organizations in Chilliwack.

                                                                                                           Ron Denman. Voice file.

A total of $5.7 million in grants will be dished out to 280 artists and arts organizations in communities across British Columbia, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Stephanie Cadieux announced today.

“As past president of the Realwheels Society, I know from personal experience how important BC Arts Council support is for artists and arts organizations,” said Cadieux. “The Province recognizes the vital role that arts and culture play in the lives of British Columbians. We continue to make the arts a priority and to work with the council to invest in the creative sector.”

Every group is feeling the economic pinch and the arts is no exception. The money will be used by various groups for media and visual arts, festivals, museums, community arts councils, touring and professional development, and there will also be individual awards to creative writers available.

The initiative is part of the 2010 Sport and Arts Legacy builds on the success of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Cultural Olympiad by providing $30 million over three years to enhance opportunities in the arts for all British Columbians. In 2010/11, the Arts Council received $7.75 million from the Legacy to help implement its strategic plan.

“We are pleased to be able to support these talented individuals and organizations,” said BC Arts Council board chairman Stan Hamilton. “It’s been another challenging year financially for B.C.’s artists and arts organizations, and continued support from the government helps to ensure the long-term health of the province’s creative sector.”

One of the two local recipients getting the lion's share of the available grant money, is the Chilliwack Museum & Historical Society, who will be receiving $22,500.

Ron Denman, Museum Director, told the Voice in an e-mail that "the grant provides some operating funds for the museum and archives. We apply yearly for this grant and are grateful for the support of the provincial arts council."

John Les, Chilliwack MLA, said in a release that he's been a supporter of the work of the Museum Society for many years saying and that "This funding will help them in their work of preserving the history of the community."

The Harrison Festival Society will be getting $22,000 and Phyllis Stenson said that they'll be using the funds to present their 33rd annual festival this July in Harrison Hot Springs.

She said that although "the money helps with performer, artistic, promotion and production costs not only for the festival but the ten shows we present during the year, it is actually less than we usually get because of provincial funding cuts to the arts."                                           

Barry Penner, Chilliwack-Hope MLA, extolled the virtues of the importance of artists and art groups in the community saying that "Local arts groups add to the vibrant culture of the eastern Fraser Valley."

Penner also acknowledged the funds are still flowing despite some belt-tightening by the provincial government.

"That's why even though we are in challenging economic times and the B.C. budget is tight, this funding is being made available to help them put on festivals and assist with other creative community projects."

Other beneficiaries of the grants are the Chilliwack Community Arts Council ($9,033) and the Kent-Harrison Festival Society and Hope and District Arts Council ($15,000).

The Chilliwack Arts Council could not be reached for comment by press time.




About the BC Arts Council

The BC Arts Council is an independent agency that supports a range of activities including funding for professional artists and arts organizations, community cultural development and public education. All funding applications are evaluated through a peer-review process. A full list of grant recipients has been posted on the council's website: www.bcartscouncil.com



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