Vancouver to provide arts and cultural organizations with $2 million in COVID-19 support funding

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      Across British Columbia, arts and music organizations, performers, and industry professionals have had to cancel upcoming events due to expanded and extended health measures announced by B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on December 19.

      As the new restrictions, which will continue until December 7, will unfortunately serve as yet another financial blow to the arts industry during the pandemic, an approval of municipal funding for arts and cultural groups has come at a critical time.

      Today, the City of Vancouver announced that city council approved $2.05 million in support grants from the new COVID-19 Cultural Impact Critical Assistance program.

      The program was launched on September 23, allowing arts and cultural nonprofits to apply for grants of up to $25,000. 

      The one-time grants and in-kind access to Vancouver Civic Theatres facilities will provide support for 103 arts and culture nonprofit organizations, particularly those that are for marginalized communities, that have been impacted by the pandemic. The grants will assist restart planning and equity initiatives.

      The cultural recovery investment includes:

      • 84 one-time CICA grants, for a total of $1.4 million supporting COVID-19 recovery;
      • 17 grants totalling $250,000 for equity-seeking organizations, as part of an Equity Grants pilot program;
      • $300,000 to renew the Vancouver Music Fund to provide direct support to Indigenous and underrepresented communities;
      • $50,000 to support Sector Equity for Anti-Racism in the Arts (SEARA), a community-led funding initiative for B.C.–based BIPOC artists facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

      The $50,000 grant to SEARA will be invested in the community-led #POWERSHARE fund, administered by the Vancity Community Foundation, to support BIPOC artists facing financial pressures due to COVID-19.

      The City has also continued its partnership with Creative BC through the second iteration of the Vancouver Music Fund. The municipal fund, the first of its kind in North America, provides support to artists and groups for creating demos, producing their first music videos, and accessing professional development opportunities.

      Among the numerous CICA grant recipients are organizations in various arts disciplines such as:

      • cultural: Kabababyang Pilipino of British Columbia, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, Latincouver Cultural and Business Society, Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver.
      • dance: Aeriosa Dance, Kokoro Dance, Vancouver International Dance Festival, Vancouver Tap Dance, Company 605;
      • theatre: Bard on the Beach, Neworld Theatre, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, ZeeZee Theatre, Vancouver Fringe Festival, Arts Club Theatre;
      • visual arts: Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Centre A, Eastside Cultural Crawl, Or Gallery, Malaspina Printmakers;
      • film and video: Cinevolution Media Arts Society, Vancouver International Film Festival;
      • music: Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, Vancouver Bach Choir, Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir. 

      Meanwhile, some of the equity grant recipients will include Afro Van Connect, Full Circle: First Nations Performance; Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance; Hogan's Alley Society; Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective; Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Vines Art Festival, and VocalEye.

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