B.C. government to provide $21 million in COVID-19 support for arts and cultural organizations

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      While B.C. arts events are on hold during the current provincial health orders to reduce escalating COVID-19 cases, the provincial government has announced that it will provide more financial assistance to arts and cultural organizations that are facing struggles during the pandemic.

      As part of the provincial economic recovery plan, the B.C. Arts Council will provide $21 million for the arts and culture sector, including $16 million allocated for an expansion of the Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement and $5 million for the Pivot Program designed to help organizations adapt to pandemic changes.

      The supplement, which some organizations have already received, assist arts organizations with operating cost payments for rent, utilities, rehiring sector workers (such as administrators, designers, or technicians), and more. In addition, the B.C. Arts Council has extended the supplement deadline to Jan. 29, 2021.

      The new Pivot Program assists organizations in modifying their business model and practices, or operational changes, such as purchasing livestreaming-related equipment. The application deadline for this program is Jan. 4, 2021.

      Executive director and curator Nika Collison of Haida Gwaii Museum at Ḵay Llnagaay (or Saahlinda Naay—Saving Things House), located in Skidegate, B.C., explained in a news release that these emergency funds “have been essential in keeping our museum's doors open, maintaining employment, and supporting artists”.

      Since the pandemic began, the provincial government has made several adjustments to arts and culture funding support, including:

      • $15 million in accelerated 2020-21 operating funding to organizations;
      • $3 million for the Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to B.C. Arts Council;
      • the new $2-million Arts Infrastructure program;
      • $123,000 to the B.C. Museums Association for micro grants to small- and medium-sized museums immediate needs;
      • $200,000 to the Vancouver Foundation (through the B.C. Arts Council) for its Community Response Fund.

      At the municipal level, the Vancouver city council recently approved grants for arts and culture organizations, including $1.4 million to 40 Vancouver arts organizations for accessing civic theatre spaces, as well as $2.05 million in support grants to 103 arts and culture nonprofit organizations from the new COVID-19 Cultural Impact Critical Assistance program.

      On Monday (December 7), B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will announce if she will extend or expand her current health orders, which currently are in effect until that date. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.