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Grants to help artists adapt during pandemic

By Don Fennell

Published 3:39 PST, Wed January 20, 2021

The Richmond Arts Coalition is hopeful a new provincial grants program will help support artists in their time of need.

“We are delighted to see the BC Arts Council continuing to look for ways to support artists in their professional development and adaptation at a time when so many artists are unable to create performances, theatre, dance, and other works of art,” says Andrew Wade, executive director of the arts coalition. “We are glad to see them acknowledging through the Pivot For Individuals grant program that individual artists also need support also during this time—not just organizations.”

Faced with unforeseen challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have been unable to work or worked less due to the temporary closures of venues and restricted audience sizes. Through the provincial government’s $500,000 program, which is being administered by the BC Arts Council, people can apply for funding—up to $12,000—to learn new skills or adapt their practices. The program is available to professional artists and cultural workers including dancers and choreographers, visual artists, writers, actors, multi-media artists, and arts administrators.

“Together with the arts sector, we are working hard to make sure that dancers, writers, painters and other artists can continue being resilient and finding innovative ways to keep creating through COVID-19,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “We’re building on our support for arts and culture in British Columbia by helping artists adapt their work, ensuring our province has a strong creative industry to enjoy when the pandemic is over.”

According to Statistics Canada, unemployment in arts and culture is higher than average and has not recovered at the pace of other BC industries. Further, a 2006 study showed for every dollar invested through the BC Arts Council and arts and cultural organizations generate $1.57 in gross domestic product. In all, as part of its Stronger BC initiative, the province is providing $21 million to support arts and culture organizations’ recovery through the BC Arts Council.

To apply, visit https://www.bcartscouncil.ca/program/project-assistance-pivot-for-individuals/. Applications are open until Feb. 16, 2021. The BC Arts Council will adjudicate and award the grants in early spring 2021.

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