Vancouver Foundation ups arts grants in reaction to provincial cuts

The Vancouver Foundation has announced it will donate $800,000 to arts and culture groups this year, double the funding it contributed last year to that sector.

“Vancouver Foundation is stepping up to the plate,” said CEO Faye Wightman in a press statement. “We’re doing what we can to fill the need created by the recession in 2009, and the recent round of belt-tightening by the provincial government. We know in particular that many arts and culture groups are experiencing a real financial strain.”

This week the B.C. Liberal government announced gaming funding would focus on youth culture and no longer go to "adult" groups. In addition, its recent budget reduced funding to the B.C. Arts Council by an estimated 53 percent from 2008-09. The government's standing committee on finance had recommended restoring that core funding to 2008-09 levels after a drop in the 2009-10 budget.

As reported by the Straight last fall, the Vancouver Foundation released a study called "Weathering the Storm" that found smaller arts groups had been particularly hard hit by the recession and that those organizations predicted things would get worse in 2010.



Rina Liddle

Mar 11, 2010 at 2:00pm

Well I guess this is what the government wanted all along...

On one hand, I am happy to see that someone is willing to "step up to the plate". It shows that culture is still valued by some BCers. However, I am nervous about this catch the Vancouver Foundation is willing to make on account that it encourages further government cuts based on a rationale that the arts can survive, maybe even flourish, without government help. And this is largely true. arts organizations and artists will always find a way to produce, we are by nature and nurture creative creatures after all. However, the issue at hand is that submissions for government grants are peer-assessed. I am not suggesting that the Vancouver Foundation will not operate responsible to the trajectory of contemporary art theory, however, what about the future funding bodies who may also decide to step-up to the plate? How will the funding bodies effect the expression and manifestation of contemporary art?


Mar 12, 2010 at 8:56am

I believe in seed money to arts organizations to get them going and then I would like to see if they can sustain themselves, while weening them off government funding. Some groups just wait for the money to come in every year, and hence are unmotivated to expand their funding base. So even if no one is interested in what they are doing they survive through this funding.

amour de cosmos

Mar 12, 2010 at 5:25pm

The grants from the Vancouver Foundation will be going to organizations, not to individual artists, as they never fund individuals. The cuts to BC Culture, the Gov. body that supports arts in BC, will be cutting grants to both organizations and individual artists. It is more than likely that it will be the foundation of cultural production that will be most negatively affected by the cuts — individual artists.


Mar 30, 2010 at 11:51pm

truly sad...