The community of Sooke, with its thriving arts scene and numerous cultural activities, is facing potential major cuts to arts funding from local government. These cuts in grants from the District of Sooke would be in the range of 50 percent for the Sooke Fine Arts Society, which holds the annual eleven-day Sooke Fine Arts Show, and 100 percent for the Sooke Community Arts Council.
The loss of funding to the Arts Council would also mean the loss of their matching funds from the BC Arts Council. This would impact their ability to support the Fine Arts Society, the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous other arts events and organizations in their community.
Arts organizations in Sooke are working to drum up support in advance of a December 14 District of Sooke Council meeting, where mayor and council will vote on a recommendation from the District’s community grant review committee to make these funding cuts.
The controversy unfolding in Sooke is reflected, to greater and lesser degrees, in other communities throughout British Columbia, and we offer the following details in the hope that this information may help other communities facing similar challenges.
Click here for a report by Britt Santowski in the Sooke Pocket News here, followed by a published statement by Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay defending the proposed cuts and a rebuttal to Councillor Reay by Sooke Community Arts Council’s grant writer and acting president Caryl Wilford.
Click here for an open letter to Sooke District Council from Geraldine McGuire, president of the Sooke Fine Arts Society.