Increased Funding for the Arts

Budget 2008: An Important Message from the Assembly

The arts and culture sector in British Columbia has reason to celebrate the February 19th provincial budget.

There are some targeted funds for existing and new cultural facilities, plus a commitment of a new endowment fund to provide arts and cultural funding in perpetuity. The income from this fund will be administered by the BC Arts Council.

So many of the commitments in this budget – to climate change, the economy, healthcare, education, housing – reflect the comments heard during budget consultations. But another area also received broad interest and support: culture and the arts. This is another strength we can build on in British Columbia.

As we prepare for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as we build our New Relationship with First Nations, as we celebrate 150 years of history… a cultural revival is taking place in every region of the province.

– Finance Minister Carole Taylor

The budget provides $ 105 million for arts and culture projects, including:

  • $ 9 million to restore and revitalize the East Vancouver Cultural Centre and establish an endowment to assist with the centre’s ongoing operating costs;
  • and $ 3 million to support a new Aboriginal Art Gallery and a World Women’s History Museum

We will also fund the planning for a new National Maritime Centre for the Pacific and the Arctic, to be located in North Vancouver.

With this budget, to honour our 150th birthday as a province, we are creating a new $ 150 million BC150 Cultural Fund. It will generate approximately $ 8 million a year. The BC Arts Council, in its official role, will advise government on how this money can best be used to support initiatives in every community – from our smallest communities to our largest cities.

The assembly joins with arts organizations accross the province in thanking all our MLAs for thier support of arts and culture in BC, and their recognition of the sector’s contributions to communities and the quality of life for peoples of all social and cultural backgrounds.

We would encourage everyone who appreciates the government’s new investment in arts and culture to write to their MLA and let him or her know how valuable this support is to everyone in the province.