This is a challenging time of year for many Vancouver cultural organizations as they await word of funding levels from senior governments.
That's because federal and provincial finance ministers have not introduced budgets for the next fiscal year, which begins on April 1.
In the meantime, City of Vancouver staff have devised a plan to fill the breach with interim funding of $2.63 million to 90 organizations and institutions.
In a report going to the Tuesday (January 19) council meeting, staff recommend that civic politicians approve advance grant installments totalling $672,000 to 35 cultural operating organizations.
The recipients include the city's most celebrated arts groups, including the Arts Club of Vancouver, Ballet BC, Bard on the Beach, Coastal Jazz and Blues, DanceHouse, DOXA Documentary Film and Video Festival, Kidd Pivot, Music on Main, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Cultch, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver Opera, and the Vancouver Symphony Society.
In addition, the staff report calls on council to approve advance grant installments of $189,400 to 27 cultural "annual assistance organizations".
Among the recipients in this category are Co. Erasga Dance, Dancing on the Edge, Kokoro Dance, Powell Street Festival, Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, and Wen Wei Dance.
Five major institutions—ASTC Science World Inc., H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Society, Vancouver Art Gallery Association, Vancouver Maritime Museum Society, and Vancouver Museum Society—are in line for $988,600.
The report recommends another $780,000 to 23 cultural organizations in a pilot biennial assessment process.
This list includes Boca del Lupo, Carousel, Chor Leoni Men's Choir, Early Music Vancouver, Cinematheque, Neworld Theatre Society, Vancouver Dance Centre Society, Vancouver Fringe Festival, Vancouver Writers Fest, Vancouver New Music Society, Out on Screen, and Western Front, among others.
Since 1998, council has been providing advance installments of 40 percent of the previous year's grants.
According to the staff report, these are "timed to accommodate the operating cash flow needs of the organizations and to mitigate risk of financial challenges during a time period where public sector grants are not commonly awarded".
These advance payments may only go to organizations that have received operating grants in each of the last three years and whose grant in the previous year was more than $7,500.
The report notes that the City of Vancouver invests more than $10 million per year in arts and cultural nonprofit groups.
"For the past two years, staff have been working with the community to make changes to the Cultural Grants program framework to better meet organizations where they are in their artistic and organizational development," the staff report states.
The city has also started making biennial assessments to make things easier for "stable and mature organizations".
For the groups in this category, the report notes that a more comprehensive review will begin early this year and last over two years.