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Vancouver Grants $6.2 Million To Arts Organizations Amid Pandemic

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Vancouver city council recently approved $6.2 million in grants to go toward arts and cultural organizations.

Heather Redfern, executive director of the Vancouver East Cultural Centre (The Cultch), joined a council meeting, Tuesday. She spoke in a chamber with Mayor Kennedy Stewart and a couple more city staff – while councillors participated over the phone.

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Redfern asked the council to approve these grants to keep local arts groups from going under during the pandemic.

“I wish I could say that our arts organizations will all be fine, but I can’t,” said Redfern. “Unfortunately, the viability of many of these organizations and the ability of our artists to live in our city and have a livelihood are in real jeopardy.”

As most of the city has shut down, arts organizations were one of the first to close its doors – as health officials banned more than 50 people coming together in one place.

Some arts organizations are doing what they can to stay relevant, like Vancouver Art Gallery hosting “Art Connects,” live streaming videos. 

But without cash flow coming in, many organizations and artists are feeling stranded.

Redfern mentioned the Cultch Theatre relies on earned and donated revenues for 80% of its funding. At this time of year, all grants are gone and the Cultch will have to rely entirely on donations, she said.

After hearing Redfern’s speech, city council unanimously voted to grant $6.2 million to go toward 208 local arts organizations.

Some Vancouver arts organizations benefitting from grants

  • The Cultch
  • Ballet BC
  • The Vancouver Out on Screen Film Festival
  • Full Circle: First Nations Performance Society
  • The Coastal Jazz and Blues Society
  • The Vancouver Art Gallery Associations
  • The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Society

This comes after nearly one million Canadians applied for Employment Insurance, due to the pandemic. The B.C. government is offering several types of aid to help residents during this time.

For more Vancouver news, head to our News section.


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