Mayor to support $7.45 million for cultural grants

April 7, 2013 | Arts and Culture

Ahead of a City Council vote on Wednesday, the Mayor is urging unanimous support from Council on plans to invest over $7.45 million in Vancouver’s vibrant arts and culture sector.

The City is recommending awarding the 2013 Cultural operating and project grants to 165 Vancouver organizations supporting dance, film, music, visual arts, literary arts and more, selected from a pool of 191 applications. This year’s grants span an impressive range, from the Arts Club Theatre (celebrating its 50th year), Bard on the Beach, the Vancouver International Writers Festival, and the DOXA Film Festival, to the Raven Spirit Dance Society and Vancouver Theatre Sports.

“The City of Vancouver is committed to using every tool at our disposal to support our vibrant local arts and cultural community, understanding that Vancouver’s leading creative sector is a substantial contributor to the strength of our local economy,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The grants recommended to 165 organizations demonstrate the breadth of support the city shows for our local arts and culture groups, and I hope all of Council will join me in supporting them.”

The grants are recommended by a jury of artistic peers and evaluated based on artistic merit, the strength of the organization, and community impact. Among others, organizations receiving funding from the city for the first time include the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, Vancouver poetry house, Reel to Real film festival, and Alley Theatre.

This year’s grants include an increase of $200,000 to index the City’s arts and culture funding to inflation for the first time, as directed by Council in the 2013 budget. Beyond these grants, another $944,000 remaisn to invest in grants in 2013, including over $400,000 for community and neighbourhood arts development.

On a per capita basis, the City of Vancouver has the highest number of artists and provides the most local grant funding for arts organizations of any major city in Canada.

These grants build on a series of significant recent steps to support arts and culture in Vancouver, including:

  • Creating the City of Vancouver’s Arts Event program, an initiative that is the first of its kind in Canada and makes it easier for artists to hold events, show case their work, and perform in Vancouver;
  • Changing zoning to allow artist studios in industrial districts, increasing the permitted space from 2 million to 28 million square feet;
  • Indexing arts funding and providing the highest grant funding per capita to arts groups of any city in Canada;
  • Council’s recent motion to formally identify and provide stronger protection for key Vancouver arts and cultural spaces;
  • The launch of the Arts Factory, a new 21,000 square foot artist space at 281 Industrial, which will provide up to 40 new studio spaces in a City-owned building;
  • The creation of a citizen-led Arts and Culture Policy Council;
  • Over 20,000 square feet of new artist space approved in 2012;
  • 44,500 square feet of space approved at the Wall Centre at 160 West 1st Avenue, designed to accommodate a new 250-seat theatre and a rehearsal hall;
  • The Park Board offering nine previously vacant field houses rent-free to artists in exchange for community-engaged arts projects and programming; and
  • Approval for restoring the historic York Theatre on Commercial Drive, to be operated by the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

For the full staff report on 2013’s Cultural Operating and Project Grants, click here: