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

VANCOUVER – People throughout the Lower Mainland 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 Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford, are finding new ways to reach audiences during the pandemic. The Reach reopened with public safety protocols in place on June 2. It has also created online tools, such as heritage neighbourhood walking tours and self-guided driving tours of public art, to help people enjoy the culture around them while maintaining physical distance.

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 of the 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.


Jinny Sims, MLA for Surrey-Panorama

“Arts and culture connect people and strengthen our communities, and organizations like The Reach demonstrate this. Now more than ever we need arts in our lives, and this funding relief will help arts and culture organizations like The Reach keep our communities vibrant as we carefully restart our economy.”

Laura Schneider, executive director, The Reach Gallery Museum

“We are really grateful for the support we’ve received through the province, in particular through BC Arts Council. Arts and heritage organizations are working especially hard to keep people connected through culture right now, and this kind of support acknowledges our work and is invaluable to our efforts.”

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:

Take a tour of Abbotsford’s public art or neighbourhoods with The Reach:

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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