COVID-19: As Vancouver arts and culture organizations face major revenue losses, city launches new grant program

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      While measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic have affected every sector, some fields are facing financial challenges that are or may be devastating.  

      According to the City of Vancouver, arts and cultural groups are expecting to lose over $90 million.

      Groups involved in the areas of theatre, music, and festivals are reporting even greater losses, and 45 percent facility-based organizations are experiencing income loss from ticket sales and rentals compared to 24 percent of organizations without a facility,

      Artists and cultural workers report more than $7 million in confirmed or projected lost income and 27 percent of them anticipate their annual income to be under $20,000 where 36 percent had originally expected $20,000 to $40,000.

      Unfortunately, less than half of Vancouver artists and cultural groups have applied or intend to apply for federal emergency assistance because they didn’t meet eligibility requirements.

      Locally, the City of Vancouver launched a new program on September 23—the COVID-19 Cultural Impact Critical Assistance program—in addition to previous initiatives to address how COVID-19 has affected local arts and culture, such as cultural infrastructure grants for cultural spaces and recovery, providing operating grants for cultural spaces at risk, and more.

      Any Vancouver-based arts and cultural nonprofit organizations (as well as those who are providing programs, services, and spaces to impacted artists and groups) hit hard by the pandemic can apply for one-time grants of up to approximately $25,000 from this new program.

      The funding will focus on continuity or adaptation of operations, programs, and services. In addition, the program will also support reopening or restart plans, and critical cultural space projects for restarting and recovering with health and safety measures in place.

      The program can also allow access to Vancouver Civic Theatre venues for activities such as livestreaming or recording events.

      “We are particularly keen to support groups and programs that champion equity, as well as groups who have played, and continue to play, a critical role in the city’s cultural and economic vitality or have been significantly impacted by COVID-19,” Culture Services managing director Branislav Henselmann stated in a news release from the city. 

      Groups that have already received civic funding are eligible to apply to this new program.

      Applications involve a two-stage process: the deadline for an expression of interest is due by November 4, while a subsequent application must then be submitted by November 18.

      For further details, visit the City of Vancouver website.

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