Grant loss leads to layoff

Loss of a gaming grant means the loss of the Nanaimo Arts Council’s executive director


Loss of a gaming grant means the loss of the Nanaimo Arts Council’s executive director Odette Laramie.

The group, which represents artists from a variety of mediums, was forced to lay off its executive director after failing to secure a $60,000 grant from the provincial government for a youth multimedia program.

“It boils down to our failure to obtain a grant … which means we don’t have the money to pay an executive director,” said John Collison-Baker, president of the arts council.

The organization received $10,000 in bridge funding recently from the provincial government and also receives small grants from the City of Nanaimo. Sales from the gallery in Nanaimo North Town Centre and entry fees into various contests make up a small portion of the annual budget.

“They’re small sources of income,” Collison-Baker said. “It won’t allow us to do more than our basic programming.”

The provincial government cut community gaming grants and restricted adult organizations from receiving funding, aiming money toward groups that support youth oriented programs.

On Monday, Premier Christy Clark announced a review of community gaming grants, led by former president of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Skip Triplett.

The review will “examine the role of government in allocating gaming revenue with input from charities, community members, industry representatives and local government,” said the government news release.

The review will cover existing legislation governing community gaming grant funding; funding formula; criteria and eligibility; processes involved with applying for and receiving community gaming grants; a multi-year funding model; and the future role of government in community gaming grants.

The government is collecting feedback as part of the review. More information and the submission process can be found at

Collison-Baker said the arts council board of directors would meet soon to discuss the group’s future.

In the meantime, he said the arts council and the community would feel the effects of Laramie’s departure.

“She’s an amazing person,” Collison-Baker said. “It’s going to be a big loss to us.”