Vancouver city council approves $4.5 million in cultural capital grants

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Vancouver has approved four grants to local cultural groups as part of a community amenity contribution stemming from the Rize Alliance development at Broadway and Kingsway.

The $4.5 million in cultural capital grants will be allocated to the Western Front, the grunt gallery, a joint project between VIVO and the Vancouver Creative Space Society (C-Space), and the Arts Factory.

Caitlin Jones, executive director of the Western Front Society, told council that the $1.5-million grant approved for the group will enable it to buy the building it has been located in for the last 40 years.

“The rapid pace of development in our city has really put significant pressure on arts and culture organizations and affordability and access to space is the number one threat to our cultural scene,” Jones said.

“For the Western Front, an institution that’s now 41 years old, this money comes at a critical time for our organization and will allow us to buy our building and secure our future, so we’re really excited about what this means about us moving forward and how we’ll be able to provide opportunities for artists and audiences well into the future.”

Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte, who is on the board of VIVO Media Arts, said the funding will allow the organization to remain in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

“This allocation is an opportunity to establish a permanent home for VIVO…but it is also a very exciting opportunity to collaborate with the member organizations of C-SPACE and to create new partnerships and new collaborations in the process,” she told council.

VIVO and C-Space are receiving $2.3 million toward the Centre for Arts Innovation, a proposed new facility that would incorporate uses including a gallery, black box production and recording space, rehearsal and production spaces, office space and a café.

C-Space is a joint venture between Vancouver theatre companies Boca Del Lupo, Electric Company, Neworld Theatre, and Rumble.

As part of the grants approved today (June 11), the Arts Factory will receive $300,000 to continue converting a building at 281 Industrial Avenue into artist production studios.

“This money will support us as we address some of the new challenges of renovating an old building–challenges that nobody anticipated during the initial feasibility studies­–and will enable us to provide a better and healthier working environment for studio artists,” Elia Kirby told council.

The grunt gallery will receive a grant of $400,000 to pay off their existing mortgage and start a new capital endowment fund to finance expanded space. 

The $4.5 million in grants is part of a $6.25-million community amenity contribution from Rize Alliance Properties as part of a rezoning approved by city council in April 2012. The money was designated for community-based artist production space in Mount Pleasant.

The four cultural projects were recommended for funding following an open call for submissions issued in the fall of 2013. 

Comments (7) Add New Comment
Alan Layton
I guess this is about the only way these venerable institutions can continue. Density trade-offs are becoming a fact of life for the arts community and occasionally you have to hold your nose and take what you can get. I'm glad though that The Western Front building is safe, for the time being, and I hope all of the recipients can raise their profile in the neighbourhood.
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JohnS
The photo has been very clearly manipulated.
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Trank
In regards to art, the time has come to see what we can salvage.
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darrell zimmerman
Great. Amenities go to construction people. What do the artists get?
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Michael Puttonen
@darrell zimmerman

“What do the artists get?”

At least eight artist groups got permanent homes, or improved homes, or got their mortgages paid off.
The developer got an increase in density worth more than four times the value of the amenity contribution.
The usual formula in these CAC deals seems to work out that the City ear-marks about half the profit from the sale of that extra density as the “amenity” payment for cultural and community infrastructure.
The support of cultural/community groups is thus aroused in favour of development (Olympic Village, Grandview Woodlands), and any home-owner resistance to re-zoning loses potential partners in fighting gentrification/densification.
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multitude
These groups sound more like realty firms than arts organizations.
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Michael Puttonen
These CAC monies associated with Rize are separate from any city operating grants for arts groups and artists, which are variously civic/prov/fed.
Vancouver CACs provide a simple formula for funding not-for-profit cultural/community infratstructure from new developments. Usually the city retains ownership of the resulting building, but that is not always appropriate or necessary.
Done right, as in this case, CACs can give certainty and stability to the cultural life of the neighbourhood, and compared to other CACs I've looked at...I think the City got this one right.

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