July 8, 2011
Dear Minister Chong:
On behalf of the Board and membership of the Greater Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture, I would like to express our gratitude to you and Premier Clark for undoubtedly advocating for and supporting the decision to maintain funding to the BC Arts Council. Your efforts and attention to this critical issue, at a time of great challenges, is much appreciated by our hundreds of members in the Lower Mainland. I am sure that the millions of British Columbians that comprise our collective audiences, communities, and families are equally grateful.
The timely decision to allocate over $6 Million from the Arts Legacy Fund to the BCAC provides the stability to the Arts Council to maintain its course and service to the province’s citizens. The investments it makes in the arts and cultural sector return many measurable economic, health, and social benefits.
While this is welcomed news and moves us in right direction, it is important to note that even at the restored level of funding, the BCAC is still not in a position to effectively fulfill its strategic plan, creating a sustainable and thriving arts and cultural sector in our province. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the Council has the necessary funding to make a significant impact, ensuring we have a strong, excellent, innovative, and accessible arts and cultural sector that is able to contribute to our families, communities, and society.
We also wish to thank Premier Clark for keeping her promise, during her leadership campaign, to restore funding to the BC Arts Council. We await news regarding the restoration of funding for the Arts and Culture through Gaming revenues. The review of Gaming eligibility criteria and the amounts of revenues, which are allocated to the Arts and Cultural community, are questions that need to be resolved in the near future. Clear answers will provide more stability and ability to plan for the future. The loss of about $11 million to the sector since 2009 has had a devastating effect for many organizations, which the restoration to the BCAC cannot address on its own.
We trust that with your continued support and hard work, we will find solutions to these challenges.
Amir Ali Alibhai
Alliance for Arts and Culture