Some of our Alliance members have been reporting some disturbing news regarding current investments in the arts. Music BC, for instance, has reported that the funding it receives from the province to administer a grant program for touring has been frozen. There are also reports about multi-year gaming grants recipients being told that their funding has been frozen due to the election. The response from officials has been, "As there is an election in process, only interim budgets were approved. We are still sorting all of that out. We should be done with that soon.” How many more of you are able to confirm these freezes? Is this just because there is currently an election being run or are these portents of future cuts to the arts? We should ask these questions during this election.
As reported by Music BC:
To be more specific, Music BC administers a $100,000 MITAP travel assistance program which funds touring and showcasing for musical artists and business travel grants for artist representatives. While this program has not been cut, it has been frozen along with many other cultural programs. If cut, the demise of this program would be similar in impact to the to what the Trade Routes program will do federally.
The Province funds $20,000 per annum towards a multi-provincial alliance called the WCMAs ($90,000 total between the western provinces and the Yukon). The WCMAs produce the Western Canadian Music Awards, Conference and Festival. This event rotates around western Canada and is due to be in BC in the fall of 2010. The freeze affected the $20,000 promised for fall 2008 and for the new fiscal. Again, this involves a great deal of national and international marketing of artists. Our position in the alliance and our ability to host the event (and thereby get the $1.5 mil economic impact) is in jeopardy.