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A Message from the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

Minister Peter FassbenderArts and culture are essential to the character, fabric and economy of our province and the sector is critical to the overall health, future and quality of life for British Columbians.

The arts help us become more imaginative, more innovative and more creative in all areas of our lives. Artists and arts and culture organizations make their communities more desirable places to live and work. They provide inspiration and enjoyment to residents, beautify shared public spaces, and strengthen the social fabric of our communities. Collectively, they fuel community vibrancy and economic development.

The Government of British Columbia is committed to investing in our next generation of creative workers to ensure a skilled, innovative workforce is in place to support a growing economy. By generating new opportunities, collaborations and partnerships, we will continue to cultivate creative talent, a strong and diverse economy and meaningful employment within all sectors, including the creative industries.

Arts and culture help foster tourism, employment and entrepreneurial spirit and act as a magnet to attract skilled, creative thinkers so necessary to today`s workforce.

BC Arts Council has served as government's key funding and development agency for the arts since 1995, approving more than 1,400 grants annually to applicants from 200 communities. These recipients encompass all disciplines and represent a diverse cross-section of arts organizations including museums, galleries, community arts councils as well as individual artists, many of whom are operating as small businesses. It is particularly gratifying to celebrate and support the province’s diverse First Nations’ culture and heritage through the works of many talented Aboriginal artists who share their stories, traditions and histories through a variety of art forms.

Since 2001, the Government of British Columbia has provided arts and cultural groups with more than half a billion dollars in funding, about $283 million of which has flowed through the council. For the past four years, annual government funding for this sector reached $60 million overall, including $24 million provided to the BC Arts Council.

The council plays an essential role in promoting artistic excellence, supporting development of a creative workforce and fostering an atmosphere where arts and culture are accessible and appreciated by all British Columbians.

As Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, I look forward to building successful relationships with the province’s artistic community as we work together to further strengthen this important component of our creative economy.