The British Columbia (BC) Arts Council board has approved $5.7 million in grants to 280 artists and arts organizations in communities across British Columbia.
Columbia Valley (CV) Arts was not among the list of grant recipients, however.
“It’s an interesting situation… Most art councils in the province get funding from [the BC Arts Council] for operating expenses,” said Alec Fleming, director of grants for CV Arts’ Board of Directors. “In order to get operating expenses, you have to apply once every five years because it is based on the census, so the next time to apply would be later this year, after the 2011 census is done.”
In order to qualify for operating expenses through the BC Arts Council though, applicants have to have had two successful project applications funded through BC Arts Council.
“To be eligible for operating expense grants, you have to meet the criteria of having completed at least two successful projects through the BC Arts Council, as it shows the group has grounding,” said Acting Associate Director Monique Lacerte-Roth of the BC Arts Council.
“We’ve only submitted one project application, but the reason for that is that, for the majority of our projects, we don’t feel that they meet the criteria of the BC Arts Council,” said Fleming. “We get funding from other organizations like the Columbia-Kootenay Cultural Alliance and the Columbia Basin Trust, and it’s much easier to apply for small amounts of money through them than it is for BC Arts Council.”
The BC Arts Council can also help fund festivals and events for B.C. art councils and groups, however, the criteria for this application is that the event last for at least two days. Fleming explains that CV Arts’ July 1 event only lasts for one.
“What we do need money for is not for specific, smaller items, but for our overall operating expenses, and it’s difficult to raise money for that,” said Fleming. “We get some money from the District of Invermere, and we have been successful, though it is getting harder all the time, from the gaming commission. Those are the only two organizations that allow us to get the funding from them for operating expenses, salary of our one staff member, the heat and light and just the general operating of the organization.”
The BC Arts Council funding is based on recommendations made through peer adjudication and covers a range of program areas including media and visual arts, festivals, museums, community arts councils, touring and professional development and individual awards to creative writers.