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Message from the Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture on next steps for the arts and culture sector

As we carefully restart economic activity in our province I want to thank everyone in the arts and culture sector for the steps you’ve taken to help flatten the curve. We’ve made extraordinary progress in B.C. by following Dr. Henry’s advice, and I know the impact these measures have had on your livelihoods and organizations.

As we face a summer without theatre festivals or large music concerts, it’s clearer than ever that arts and culture is what makes our communities vibrant. That’s why our government is providing targeted relief to artists and arts and culture organizations.

To support the sector, the BC Arts Council is advancing $15 million in funding to its operating clients to help organizations meet their immediate needs and improve their cash flow. It also gives certainty to support the network of artists and groups that depend on them. This funding is in addition to the $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement the BC Arts Council provided to operating and eligible project clients in April.

To support artists during the pandemic, the BC Arts Council launched a new micro-grant program. Until June 30, 2020, artists can apply for up to $1,500 to help adapt to changes in the sector. For example, artists can use the grant to learn video editing or livestream a performance. This pilot is made possible by a generous donation from the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation and will provide support for dozens of artists around the province.

We know these actions don’t reach everyone, and we’re working to address those gaps. The BC Arts Council provided $200,000 to the Vancouver Foundation’s Community Response Fund to support arts and culture charities. Our government provided $123,000 to the BC Museums Association for resilience grants to small and medium-sized museums throughout B.C. And together with Creative BC, we launched Showcase BC, an online hub for creative content, as well as micro-grants for B.C. musicians.

The road ahead is slow and cautious. Some parts of the sector, such as museums and galleries, are beginning to open now. Others, like performance venues are preparing to open in Phase 3 and other entertainment such as large festivals or concerts won’t be possible until Phase 4. For a sector built on bringing people together, I know this situation is challenging. But your innovation, energy and creativity as you find solutions is inspiring.

Our government is here for you. We are providing relief to artists and organizations throughout the province to keep arts and culture strong in our communities. We will continue to work across the sector to understand your needs as we move forward so that arts and culture can come back better in the future.

In closing, I know that for many people in the arts this is not a return to normal. As Dr. Henry is fond of saying, this is not forever, this is just for now and we’ll get through this together.

Safe safe, stay well,

Lisa Beare
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture