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Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
June 12, 2020
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
More support for Interior arts, culture during COVID-19

NELSON – People throughout the Interior can continue to enjoy arts and culture thanks to targeted relief for artists and organizations from the BC Arts Council.

“Arts and culture bring people together and have the ability to help us heal during the pandemic,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “By supporting artists and arts organizations, we are ensuring that the culture sector can come back strong in the future.” 

After advancing 50% of operating funding immediately in April, the BC Arts Council is distributing the remaining 50% to organizations this July. Combined, organizations throughout the province will receive more than $15 million total to help give them certainty and flexibility as they budget for the year.

Many of the recipients, like the Nelson and District Arts Council, are finding new ways to reach audiences during the pandemic. Nelson’s arts council is taking all of its annual programming online, including its flagship event, ArtWalk. On June 26 and July 31, 2020, the council will livestream presentations by local performance artists on its website and social media. Businesses will also share featured posts of visual artists whose artwork they would have hung on their walls and a digital gallery will be available, so Kootenay artists have an opportunity to sell their work.

The BC Arts Council also launched a microgrant pilot program to support artists to continue to make art and develop their practice during the pandemic. The program was possible thanks to a donation from the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation. Until June 30, 2020, artists and cultural practitioners can apply for up to $1,500 to help adapt to changes in the sector. For example, artists can use the grant to learn video editing or livestream a performance.

“We’ve provided support to organizations and now we’re focusing on the heart of our sector – individual artists,” said Susan Jackson, chair, BC Arts Council. “These new microgrants will help artists and cultural practitioners adapt existing projects or aspects of their practice to meet new challenges. The grants are designed to respond quickly, to support artists with immediate creative development opportunities.” 

These actions build on the Province’s ongoing support for the arts and culture sector. In March, the BC Arts Council launched its $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement, as well as advancing 50% of operating funding to organizations and changing program requirements in response to COVID-19.


Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston

“Arts and culture are so important to our community, and groups like the Nelson and District Arts Council have been finding creative ways to keep us enjoying artists safely in a time of physical distancing. I’m very proud that our government is supporting their work to keep our communities vibrant as we carefully restart our economy.”

Sydney Black, executive director, Nelson and District Arts Council

“We are grateful to the BC Arts Council for recognizing the importance of supporting community arts councils at this unprecedented time, so that we can continue to provide support to the network of artists that we serve. Having advance access to our operating funding allows us to continue to be innovative and to adapt to our new normal with certainty and confidence.”

Quick Facts:

  • The B.C. government has also provided the following COVID-19 relief for the arts and culture sector:
    • To support arts and culture through community programming and services that are important to B.C.’s social fabric, the BC Arts Council provided $200,000 to the Vancouver Foundation’s Community Response Fund.
    • The B.C. government provided $123,000 to the BC Museums Association for resilience grants to small- and medium-sized museums throughout B.C.
    • To support the music industry, the B.C. government and Creative BC launched Showcase BC, an online hub for creative content, as well as microgrants for B.C. musicians.
  • The B.C. government’s investments in the BC Arts Council have brought its budget to a record high. From December 2019 to March 2020, the BC Arts Council distributed more than $14 million for over 800 grants provincewide.
  • The COVID-19 Action Plan provides $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.

Learn More:

Apply now for a BC Arts Council microgrant:

Learn more about Nelson’s ArtWalk 2020:

For a full list of BC Arts Council Grant recipients, visit:

Follow #ShowcaseBC on Twitter or check out B.C. creative content on Showcase BC:

Find out about provincial supports for people and businesses:

Follow the BC Arts Council to find out about programs and deadlines:

On Facebook:

On Twitter:

Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 208-4309

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