B.C. Alliance for Arts + Culture gives thumbs up to proposed City of Vancouver budget

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      City of Vancouver staff have recommended an additional $580,000 in grants for arts and cultural groups in the 2018 civic budget.

      That would amount to a five percent increase over last year's final figure of $11.49 million in grants, bringing the total to $12.07 million.

      Council is expected to vote on the budget on Wednesday (December 6). 

      The B.C. Alliance for Arts + Culture has welcomed the increase, but notes there's still a chance that the funding hike could be reduced or even eliminated.

      "Therefore, it is vital that the Vancouver arts community expresses to the Mayor and Councillors its strong support for this proposed increase," the alliance stated in an advocacy alert emailed to its members.

      The budget document points out that the cultural-services department oversees three primary components: grants and awards, public art and cultural infrastructure, and spaces.

      Total expenditures on civic theatres is forecast to rise by 11.1 percent next year to $12.29 million. 

      In 2017, six new murals were commissioned from Indigenous artists as part of the Canada 150+ celebrations.

      Dozens more murals were added in Strathcona and Mount Pleasant, while other temporary art projects were supported in partnership with nonprofit groups.

      The city also backed an art project in South Vancouver with the Musqueam First Nation, according to the budget document.

      In addition, the city began working on a new Creative City Strategy. This is being spearheaded by the director of cultural services, Branislav Henselmann.

      In a presentation to council in October, Henselmann revealed that there are 33,020 cultural workers in Vancouver, comprising 9.7 percent of the city workforce.

      This figure includes 7,925 artists, of which nearly two-thirds earn less than $40,000 per year.