Government Grant Funding for B.C. Arts Programs

British Columbia, March 5, 2010 – Artists are indignant due to the lack of government grants for arts programs in the province. Government grants in the past have funded upwards of tens of millions of dollars each year in art initiatives. The government grant funding this year, the BC Arts Minister Kevin Krueger said, is about $15 million less than last year; although, he maintains that the current government grants are higher than they have ever been.

The NDP’s critic for Tourism, Culture and the Arts Spencer Herbert says the Arts Minister’s numbers are incorrect. Regarding Krueger’s assertion that arts funding is the highest it’s ever been, Herbert says, “That’s completely bogus.”

Herbert says that the B.C. Arts Council used to grant $14 million a year in government grants, but now it’s at $7 million. “Either he multiplies everything by two as an attempt to make it seem everything’s fine, or he’s just making it up.”

Krueger, however, said that artists in B.C. have nothing to worry about, and they haven’t yet heard the budget for the new program to support the Olympic Legacy Fund. Krueger said he budget includes $7.931 million in grants to the arts council and another $10 million to come this budget year, and another $10 million after that. Krueger promises the artists will like what they see there.

“Ten and 7.931 is almost $18 million. The best they ever did was $14.8 million in a year,” Krueger said. “They have nothing to reproach us for at all.”
Arts Minister Krueger maintains that the artist will be happy if they remain patient for the next budget allotment announcements.

But Herbert said that B.C. is throwing away thousands of creative jobs, driving artists to move to different provinces where they can get stable funding.
“We saw an incredible outpouring of sympathy for arts and culture last year,” Herbert said. “We’ll continue to fight.”