Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, made a welcome announcement of arts funding, Thursday, in front of a packed house at the Belfry Theatre just moments before the opening night of Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride the Cyclone, the first production of the Belfry’s 2011-2012 season.
The B.C. Arts Council will get $16. 8 million from the provincial government to help fund artists and cultural groups throughout the province for 2011-2012. This announcement of funding sustains the B.C. Arts Council’s resource levels from last year.
“The arts community is vital to our community as a whole,” says Chong. “I know over the last number of years there have been a few challenges fiscally. In spite of that recession, we’ve have attempted to ensure that we find a way to help the arts and culture community financially.”
The B.C. Arts Council is an independent agency that supports artist and cultural organizations throughout the province. The funding breaks down as follows:
$7.931 million from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, $2.150 million from the BC150 Cultural Fund, and $6.75 million from the 2010 Sport and Arts Legacy Fund.
“I’m sorry that it’s taken so long to announce it, we are still in a very difficult financial situation,” says Chong. “But I wanted to find a way to ensure that the funding for this year will maintain and matched the funding for last year. I know that’s a concern and in fact that brings us up to the 2008-2009 level.”
“I know there’s still a challenge going forward but because we recognize that the creative community employs as many as 78,000 people and contributes as much as $5.2 billion to our provincial economy, it is a valuable sector and we want to see those jobs be able to continue.”
Stan Hamilton, chair of the BC Arts Council says, “On behalf of the board we thank the minister for this support – the second-highest level in the council’s history. The funding is the key to ensuring the long-term health of B.C.’s creative sector. It means that council can continue to provide a high level of service to our clients. These resources allow council to take the strategic steps to ensure the arts in this province will grow and thrive over the long term.”M