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Provincial funding for northern arts organizations

Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen

In the North, 21 arts and culture organizations have received $400,000 through the B.C. government’s StrongerBC plan for economic recovery.

“These are difficult times, and we all need art, music, and stories more than ever to help us get through it,” said Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen. “That’s why we’re making sure that arts and culture are a foundational part of B.C.’s economic recovery. Supporting community institutions like the Bulkley Valley Museum is an important way we can make sure that our communities will be just as vibrant when the pandemic is over.”

As part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, the BC Arts Council provided the Expanded Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to organizations that receive annual operating funding or project grants. Organizations can use the funds to pay for operating costs, like rent and utilities, paying artists and protecting or restoring jobs, such as theatre technicians, production designers or arts administrators.

For example, the Bulkley Valley Museum in Smithers is using its supplement to help offset lost revenues. It is also helping the museum extend the employment contract of a staff member in order to continue adapting programming to be COVID-19 safe and transitioning programming to digital.

“We’ve found ways to still offer people a cultural experience through limited entries and online programs, including our Collections Online database system, but our revenue is down this year,” said Kira Westby, curator of the Bulkley Valley Museum. “This support from the B.C. government is so critical to keeping our doors open and allowing us to plan for the future.”

Sunset Theatre in Wells is using its supplement to plan its recovery when the theatre can open its doors again.

“Everyone is struggling right now, but live performance artists and organizations have been particularly hit,” said Karen Jeffery, artistic director of Sunset Theatre. “Rural artists have the added burden of limited resources and options available to diversify. This supplemental funding is such a boost in the arm and comes at a time when we needed to seriously examine the future of our organization. This money allows us to keep the doors open and to keep finding creative ways to offer our services to our community.”

To make sure organizations got access to funding as soon as possible, the BC Arts Council started rolling out funding in November 2020. The funding is now fully allocated. In total, the province is providing $15.7 million in supplements to 556 arts and culture organizations in communities throughout B.C.

To see a full list of recipients, visit:

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