Musicians perform during a Surrey City Orchestra “mixer” at board member Erin Anne Beirne’s home in South Surrey in 2017. (File photo: Tom Zillich)

Province announces $3M in funding for arts groups hit by COVID-19 crisis

BC Arts Council to administer support for both organizations and individual artists

The provincial government has announced a new $3-million fund for artists and arts and cultural organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The bail-out, the Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement, was announced Friday by tourism arts and culture minister Lisa Beare.

Beare said the supplement, to be administered by the BC Arts Council, will provide “operating and eligible project clients” up to $15,000 in early April “to help them pay their bills.”

“Starting in April 2020, the BC Arts Council will provide operating clients a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding to help with their cash flow,” Beare said.

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“We are also extending application deadlines, relaxing reporting requirements and allowing organizations to use funding to cover immediate needs like rent and utilities.”

Beare added that the new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will allow individuals in the arts sector who have had their income affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, to apply for a one-time payment of $1,000.

“Our government’s financial support plan includes several actions that arts organizations are eligible for, such as delaying tax filing and payment deadlines,” she noted.

Describing the move as a “first and necessary step,” Beare said the measures represent what can be done immediately within the existing BC Arts Council budget to help organizations during the pandemic, and promised that more regarding additional supports for the arts sector will be announced in the weeks ahead.

“COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing has had a significant impact on everyone, including those in the arts sector,” Beare noted.

“Arts organizations right away responded to the orders, direction and recommendations from the provincial health officer, showing great leadership by cancelling events, performances and festivals to protect people’s health,” she said.

“We understand this has had a significant impact on artists, their families and arts organizations.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

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