City awards more than $800K in grants to local cultural organizations for facilities

October 17, 2012 | Arts and Culture

Vancouver City Council today approved more than $800,000 in funding to help 23 local organizations enhance and create cultural facilities in Vancouver.

The grant recipients represent a wide range of local performing arts, visual arts, museum and community organizations. The Carousel Theatre Society, St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church and the Vancouver Opera Association were among the major grant recipients, receiving $150,000 each for their projects. A list of all the 2012 Cultural Infrastructure Grant recipients is available online.

The Cultural Infrastructure Grants are awarded to Vancouver-based, not-for-profit and charitable cultural organizations to support improvements and maintenance of existing cultural facilities; planning and creation of new spaces; and leveraging of additional funding from other sources.

Funded from the City’s capital budget, the grants are intended to help enhance facilities for the benefit of the entire arts community and its audiences.

The grant program is one of the key ways the City supports the preservation, upgrading and development of cultural spaces and is a strategy identified in the City’s 2008-2023 Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan. The plan provides a framework policy for supporting cultural space and responding to investment opportunities and funding requests.

Since its inception in 2009, the program has invested $3.58 million in funding for 92 projects and leveraged $19.9 million in total investment in cultural space creation and improvements. Over this period, approximately 65 per cent of applications have been for improvements to existing infrastructure and 35 per cent for new space (planning, acquisition, renovation).

Today’s funding decisions also build on a series of recent steps by the City to support artists and new cultural space, including:

  • the creation of citizen Arts and Culture Policy Council;
  • offering three City-owned industrial spaces for lease to artists or cultural groups;
  • the commitment of 13,000 square feet of new studio space in three developments recently approved by City Council, including 20 studios in 10,800 square feet of space at 1265 Howe;
  • 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; and,
  • the Park Board offering seven previously vacant field houses rent-free to artists in exchange for community-engaged arts projects and programming.