61% of Vancouver Island Gaming “Arts and Culture” Grants Bound for Other Purposes

Photo: Bill Horne

Below is the full press release from a group of concerned arts supporters on Vancouver Island:

61% of Vancouver Island Gaming “Arts and Culture” Grants Bound for Other Purposes

For immediate use

From: Bill Jamieson, Connie Foss More, DolaDubé – concerned members of the Arts community

Date: September 16, 2010

Contact: Bill Jamieson, CA,     phone: 250-370-1067  email

(others, if needed, are Connie Foss More  here and Dola Dubé  here.)

According to a Press Release issued by the B.C. Gaming Branch on September 3, the government has restored funding to Arts and Culture groups on Vancouver Island through B.C. Gaming’s “Arts, Culture and Heritage” programme. “Pipers and painters, choristers and curators will share $662,740 in Community Gaming Grants supporting youth arts and culture, fairs, festivals and museums on Vancouver Island,” states the Minister.

Refer to: http://www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/gaming/news/index.htm

However, even the most cursory review of the list of successful applicants suggests otherwise.


We are affiliated with a recipient children’s organization which will receive only one-quarter of the grant requested and one-third of the grants received in prior years until last year’s complete funding freeze, so we decided to do a quick analysis of where the rest of that $662,740 went.

To our surprise, we found that only 8% went to music organizations. In fact, only 39% went to organizations that have anything to do with Arts, Culture or Heritage.

Where then did the other 61% go? It seems that 56% of the gaming monies went to amateur Sports organizations, and 5% went to a lone health support organization, the Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Support Centre (worthy though they may be as a non-Arts organization). We are quite certain these organizations are not made up of “pipers and painters, choristers and curators.”

We conclude that the government has redefined Sports and Health Care as Arts and Culture. If that is the case, we invite the government to redefine Arts and Culture as Sports, so that Arts groups can access the vast government support for amateur Sports (think Olympics?).

Perhaps these Sports organizations are putting on music festivals so they can access the Arts funding. If so, we could probably accept that that would qualify them for Arts funding. That does not, however, explain why the average size of the grants for the Sports organizations was $61,900, compared with average grants of $8,366 for Arts and Cultural organizations.

What is most disturbing about the announcement is the misleading impression it gives that the government is pumping money into Arts and Culture. A total of $250,000 for all of Vancouver Island, or about 33 cents per capita does not represent a very impressive investment.  The complete absence of funding for adult organizations (except disabled people) and for capital projects also underlines the low level of funding from Gaming revenues, compared to the past.  Who IS receiving the current vast Gaming revenues?

The following table shows the breakdown in Arts and Culture grant revenues for Vancouver Island:

Arts and Culture groups did somewhat better in the Lower Mainland. The breakdown is as follows:

The Lower Mainland numbers, however, are somewhat skewed by a single grant of $250,000 to the Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale, five times the size of the next-largest grant to a cultural organization. If one ignores that single grant, then the Lower Mainland statistics more closely resemble those of Vancouver Island.
Attached are three files that provide the detailed allocation of the recipient organizations into the above categories for Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. (Original source is the same website shown above.)


One response to “61% of Vancouver Island Gaming “Arts and Culture” Grants Bound for Other Purposes

  1. Pingback: Ontario Rocks: Province Increases Funding for the Arts | Building Communities

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