Nanaimo arts organizations receive operating grant funding

NANAIMO - Crimson Coast Dance Society and the Vancouver Island Symphony receive grant money from the B.C. Arts council.

Two Nanaimo arts organizations have received an infusion of cash from the B.C. Arts Council to help with operating costs.

Crimson Coast Dance Society received $30,000 and the Vancouver Island Symphony received $12,650.

“It’s really exciting for us,” said Holly Bright, artistic director of Crimson Coast Dance.

She said the grant money is funding the dance organization has applied for and received since 2000. At first it was about $5,000, but it has steadily grown over the years.

The dance society has an annual operating budget of $250,000 a year, said Bright, so the money is important to help it produce its four main stage shows a year, the Infringing Dance Festival, youth programs and to employ two staff members.

“What’s really important for people to understand is that the intention is to make arts of all disciplines accessible for people to try it,” said Bright.

She said without funding, Crimson Coast Dance would have to charge more money for tickets to events, but the grant helps keep it affordable for people in the Nanaimo community. She said Crimson Coast Dance allows audience members to become familiar with Canadian artists.

Margot Holmes, Vancouver Island Symphony executive director, said in an e-mail that the funding isn’t new, and is the organization’s annual operating grant from the B.C. Arts Council.

“We are most grateful to receive this $12,650 investment to assist with the symphony’s work for the community,” she said. “The symphony’s operating budget is $880,000 and this $12,650 supports our ongoing programming.”

The B.C. Arts Council distributed more than $8.5 million to more than 300 organizations and artists in the province. Awarded funding was for various endeavours including community festivals, publishing, project assistance, visual arts, operating assistance and youth engagement.

“From symphony orchestras to music festivals, from professional ballet or cutting-edge theatre, British Columbia’s dynamic arts and culture scene provides inspiration and enjoyment to residents throughout the province,” said Merla Beckerman, chairwoman of the B.C. Arts Council in a press release, adding that the funding can help artists and organizations foster a healthy economy.

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