City invests more than $1 million in grants to support local cultural organizations

Yesterday, Vancouver City Council approved $1,055,010 in grants for 46 cultural organizations to increase stability through the lasting economic challenges of the pandemic, invest in making space for arts and culture in Vancouver, and provide targeted support for equity-denied artists. 

Yesterday, Vancouver City Council approved $1,055,010 in grants for 46 cultural organizations to increase stability through the lasting economic challenges of the pandemic, invest in making space for arts and culture in Vancouver, and provide targeted support for equity-denied artists.

Grant recommendations approved by Vancouver City Council were based on Culture|Shift, the City’s ten-year culture plan, which encapsulates the aspirations of thousands of people who lent their expertise to co-create an inclusive, ambitious vision for Vancouver’s cultural fabric. Culture|Shift recognizes that barriers faced by equity-seeking communities, including Indigenous, Black, people of colour and people with disabilities, have historically resulted in underrepresentation in the creation of arts and cultural works and experiences in the city, including those supported by City grants.

“A vibrant arts and culture sector that all Vancouverites can access and participate in, is essential to creating a liveable City,” said Mayor Ken Sim. “With this investment, we are proud to support and showcase Vancouver artists from a diverse set of backgrounds. Our hope is that these grants will help showcase Vancouver’s arts and culture with a greater focus on supporting Indigenous Reconciliation.”

“As part of our dedicated efforts to deliver on Council-directed Culture|Shift actions, we continue to actively apply an intersectional, decolonial, racial justice and systemic equity lens to our entire grant program portfolio,” said Branislav Henselmann, Managing Director of Cultural Services for City of Vancouver. “These Council-approved investments reflect our ongoing commitment to uplift the contributions and the multitude of cultural expressions of a broader range of artists and organizations who make Vancouver a vibrant, world-renowned cultural hub.”

“City of Vancouver funding is instrumental in supporting the practice and public outreach of equity-deserving artists and organizations,” says Ziyian Kwan, Artistic Director, Dumb Instrument Dance. “By way of example, since July 2020 at our cultural space Morrow, Dumb Instrument Dance has hosted over 100 live events, provided 24 well-paid residencies and offered free and subsidized venue use, always prioritizing access and benefit for marginalized artists and communities. We are immensely grateful for the City’s ongoing support of an inclusive and vibrant cultural ecology.”

In alignment with the City’s Reconciliation Framework and UNDRIP strategy, included in this funding announcement is $280,000 in Cultural Indigenous Grants. This program provides annual funding to xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), SḵwxSquamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tslei-Waututh) Nations for self-determined cultural projects, and to Indigenous-led organizations with a mission to develop, create, and present Indigenous arts and culture.

Funding will support events including Indigenous Fashion Week, an Elder and Matriarch in Residence at Carnegie Community Centre, traditional and contemporary Métis jigging dance performances, and more.

Grant highlights

This investment is funded through several programs that advance the City’s cultural goals. Below is a selection of key highlights. The complete report is available here.

  • Black Arts Vancouver Society received $15,000 in Cultural Equity & Accessibility Grants to build a residency program for Black creatives and arts programming for Black youth.
  • Dumb Instrument Dance Society received $40,000 in Cultural Equity Grants to support their work providing low barrier creation space and residencies for Indigenous, Black and people of colour artists of mixed abilities from across disciplines at their venue, Morrow.
  • The Art Starts in Schools Society received  $60,000 from the 2022 Cultural Grants Operating Budget for renewal and delivery of the Creative Spark Vancouver program, which supports diverse artists working with youth.
  • Normie Event Society received $15,000 to create a viability plan for a 250+ capacity venue, led by and prioritizing queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and people of colour members, performers and audiences.

Along with Culture|Shift, this investment supports key civic policy and strategic directions including the Vancouver Music StrategyMaking Space for Arts and Culture, the COVID-19 Economic and Business Recovery program, the Reconciliation Framework, the UNDRIP Strategythe Equity Framework, and the Accessibility Strategy.

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