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Funding levels still down for Nelson arts groups

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

Even though the BC Arts Council board approved $5.7 million in grants to 280 artists and arts organizations in communities across BC this week, funding to several major Nelson arts organizations is still below 2008 levels.

Five Nelson arts organizations are well below the amount they received from the BC Arts Council board for 2008/09, according to the figures released by the council on Monday.

This year the council’s board handed out $5.7 million to provincial arts organizations, down from the $7 million in grants plus a supplemental amount of $16.8 million in 2008/09.

Oxygen Art Centre will be given $7,700 for professional projects this year, down from $10,000 they received in 2008/09, and a further $9,000 for a co-op placement.

However, the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council may be the hardest hit. This year the council will receive $11,000 for community arts project, down from $21,500 they had coming their way in 2008/09.

The Nelson and District Museum, Archives, Art gallery and Historical Society has seen a slight drop in their funding since 2008/09, with $18,500 coming this year for operating assistance of the museum. In 2008/09, the museum received $19,500.

The Nelson and District Arts Council will only garner one grant of $4,822, compared to the two sums — $10,385 and $7,300 — they received three years ago.

Other arts organizations in the region are hurting as well. The Slocan Valley Community Arts Council will receive $4,000 this year, down from the two grants — $5,149, $3,600 — they received in 2008/09.

Kootenay Gallery of Art, History and Science in Castlegar gets $15,500 in operating assistance from the council this year. They received $18,000 in 2008/09, plus another $11,000.

Kalso’s Langham Cultural Society will receive $13,500 in operating assistance from the council, down from the $14,500 they received in 2008/09 (plus another grant of $8,800).

The funding is based on recommendations made through peer adjudication and covers program areas including media and visual arts, festivals, museums, community arts councils, touring and professional development and individual awards to creative writers.

This latest funding round also includes awards for co-op placements through a pilot program designed to build organizational capacity and to help support young and emerging artists. The program is made possible by support from the 2010 Sport and Arts Legacy.

The BC Arts Council is an independent agency that supports funding for professional artists and arts organizations, community cultural development and public education. All funding applications are evaluated through a peer-review process.

A full list of grant recipients has been posted on the council’s website: www.bcartscouncil.ca