Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival decries loss of federal funding

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      Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival has lost a significant source of federal funding, organizers say.

      The Department of Canadian Heritage is not renewing an annual grant and has not adequately explained why, artistic director Shaira Holman said.

      “It’s really tough. We’re less than three months away from the opening of the festival,” Holman told the Straight by phone today (April 30).

      “It’s a huge blow and we’re scrambling to preserve as much of the programming as possible,” she said.

      Canadian Heritage has provided annual funding to the multidisciplinary festival since 2010, with the amounts increasing by 10 percent each year, organizers said.

      Last year’s grant of $44,000 represented 17 percent of the festival’s budget, Holman said.

      Holman said the festival is now considering scaling back programming, increasing ticket prices, and reducing spending on advertising.

      “We’re hoping that we can put enough pressure (on Canadian Heritage) to get the decision reversed,” she said. “We have heard that that has happened in the past. We’re really hoping for public support on this.”

      The festival also receives support from the local and provincial governments, as well as other sources.

      Holman said the festival will still go ahead this year from July 24 to August 9.

      “We are going to persevere and make the festival viable, but it’s a huge blow.”




      Apr 30, 2013 at 8:38pm

      What? No more free money for our loony left event?? How dare those colonozing white hetero-normative cisgenders!


      May 1, 2013 at 4:38am

      @gregg Pretty asinine way to address a legitimate issue.

      I agree the arts are important in any society, but currently, with taxes as high as they are, there needs to be smarter allocation of money, across the board.


      May 2, 2013 at 12:29am

      Believe it or not, QAF is not just an art show. Providing folks who face discrimination, whether tacit or blatant, in the workplace, schools and society in general an avenue through which to vent and connect is about mental health as much as it is about art. Especially true to for youth, and QAF makes a commendable effort to involve and reach out to at risk-youth. Really, $44k is peanuts.

      And you know what? On the other hand, I agree: if funding is really, really scarce, then reduce it. But don't just kill it 3 months before the festival with no explanation. That's just crappy.