Overall, I heard so many people yesterday saying “what does this mean??” There’s this $10 Million dollars, but where does it come from? Who gets it? And how does the budget compare to last years’?
I just got this email press release from The Alliance for Arts and Culture, which helps to make sense of all the numbers.
Reality Check: Arts Funding Cut By BC Budget
Arts funding was not restored to 2008/2009 levels in yesterday’s budget, despite a unanimous recommendation by the government’s Standing Committee on Finance”, according to Alliance for Arts and Culture executive director Amir Ali Alibhai.
“In fact what we have seen are further cuts to core funding” said Mr. Alibhai, “for a total loss of 32.4 per cent from funding levels in 2008/09.
Here are the basic facts from the March 2 budget:
FACT: The BC Arts Council has been cut 53 per cent from 2008/09.This is funding used to provide core support for the creation of cultural experiences like those that thrilled audiences here and world-wide during the 2010 Olympics.
FACT: BC Gaming Commission contributions to the arts have been cut 58 per cent from 2008/09.This is funding used to make possible community access to the arts and culture through free public festivals and events.
FACT: A $10 million annual supplementary fund has been created, but we do not know how the funds will be administered or distributed.
FACT: Interest from the $150 million BC Arts and Culture Endowment remains the same.
FACT: The new budget includes $12 million for the BC Royal Museum. This support has remained the same for several years and is essentailly a transfer to a crown corporation; this has not traditionally been counted as part of the investment made through grants to the arts and cultural sector.
FACT: Total government investment in culture, including the newly announced $10 million annual supplementary fund, has been reduced by 32.4 per cent from the 2008/09 budget.
These numbers do not include cuts from other government sources to creative sector disciplines such as publishing, Music BC and others.
The following charts, Chart 1 from the government and Chart 2 from the Alliance, demonstrate the reality. You can see that the government numbers have been inflated by the addition of the $12 million for the Royal BC Museum.
“To win its bid for the 2010 Olympics, the BC government boasted about the British Columbia’s vibrant arts and culture scene, claiming that culture was the ‘second pillar’ of the Games. “We were hoping the government would continue to consider culture an important pillar of our society,” continued Mr. Alibhai.
“We look forward to working with the government in ensuring that the $10 million annual supplementary fund they have created is used to best effect,” Mr. Alibhai concluded. “And we shall continue to press for full restoration of arts funding to the levels the Finance Committee agreed were necessary.”