Vancouver city council will vote on funding B.C. Artscape organization to create more cultural spaces

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Vancouver city staff has recommended that council approved $300,000 in funding over three years to create more cultural spaces.

According to a staff report going to the Wednesday (June 11) finance and services committee, the funds would go to Toronto Artscape "to develop an affiliate organization in BC (BC Artscape), subject to Artscape securing matching funds".

On its website, Toronto Artscape defines itself as a "not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities".

It develops and manages multitenant facilities offering "below-market production, rehearsal, exhibition and living space for artists, creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and cultural organizations".

Its nine projects are Artscape Youngplace, Artscape Distillery Studios, Artscape Gibraltar Point, Artscape Launchpad, Artscape Triangle Lofts, Artscape West Queen West, Artscape Wychwood Barns, Daniels Spectrum, Parkdale Arts & Cultural Centre, and Theatre Passe Muraille.

The city staff report states that Artscape is hoping to obtain matching funds from the Vancity Community Foundation and the McConnell Foundation.

"These funds will support start-up operations for BC Artscape and pre-project development work on a variety of real estate projects," the report notes. 

According to the report, the B.C. organization would have a B.C.-based board of directors and staff, though its relationship with Artscape in Toronto would help it obtain funds from across the country.

The source of the civic grant would be the Vancouver innovation fund, which received $2 million per year in the last three operating budgets.

The city will only dip into the fund if the recipient can match the grant at a minimum 1:1 level, but ideally at 3:1.

"With the establishment of an Innovation Fund, one time innovative projects can be funded to advance key agendas in the city," the report states. "Accessing the City of Vancouver Innovation is at Council discretion."

In the past, the Vancouver innovation fund has helped finance the Vancouver Rent Bank, social enterprises in the Downtown Eastside, the 125th anniversary celebrations in Stanley Park, restoration of the Mungo Martin Centennial Pole, the Vancouver Police Department's cadet program, and activities linked to Reconciliation Week.

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