Vancouver arts organizations and other non-profit community groups will continue to have access to subsidies on short-term rental rates at venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza and the Orpheum Annex thanks to the approval of the Vancouver Civic Theatres' Underutilized Spaces Grant for another three years.
The program began as a pilot project in April 2016, subsidizing up to a maximum of $100,000 in fees in an effort to reduce the gap between the City's rental rates for civic theatres and the ability of arts and other non-profit community groups to pay the rent.
At a council meeting on October 18, 2016, Mayor Robertson and City Council approved the three-year Underutilized Spaces Grant program from 2017 to 2019, making a total of $550,000 available in subsidies. $150,000 will be available in 2017 and $200,000 per year in 2018 and 2019.
A staff report detailed the success of the pilot program: “Based on the success of the 2016 [pilot] program, VCT experienced greater utilization and diversity of users on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, Annex and Orpheum’s former Granville Street box office, by groups and events that supported the City’s goals of cultural engagement, health and wellness."
“Our goal is to continue the momentum created with the pilot program and continue to successfully negotiate short term rental engagements with arts organizations, not-for-profit local community driven groups (food; fitness, dance, martial arts or similar health and wellness-focused groups) as well as community based festivals/events celebrating diversity within the city."
The program covers all VCT venues, with priority given to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, Annex, the Orpheum Theatre's Granville Street box office, and lobbies of all VCT sites. Detailed information will be available shortly.