Tag Archives: gaming grants

Globe and Mail poll: should gaming grants to arts be restored?

This was a poll that ran in the Globe and Mail in October. Pretty definitive. After last year’s gaming grant cuts, during which almost all arts organizations in the province were made entirely ineligible for grants, many jobs were lost in the arts. There is a legally binding agreement between the BC government and charities (of which the arts were a founding member) dictating that a significant portion of gaming revenues would go to arts and other charities. The BC government has never extinguished this agreement and yet is not abiding by it. We have been calling for return of these funds – especially in the context of the huge expansion of gambling in this province – to no avail. It seems that the public agrees with us. Restore the funds. British Columbians gamble believing their money is going to charities. It mostly isn’t. The public ought to be made aware of this fact.

Sign the BCACG’s petition here. The BC Ass’n of Charitable Gaming is the organization that advocates for all charities receiving gaming funds. Thank you.


Gaming Branch cultural grants a vital lifeline for smaller arts groups

“Funding cuts will devastate local theatre: Gaming Branch cultural grants a vital lifeline for smaller arts groups”

13 November, 2010

Clayton Jevne has been the artistic director and manager of Theatre Inconnu since its inception in 1978. He has been involved as an actor, director or designer in more than 80 productions with the company. He has also performed as an actor

It is good news that grants from the B.C. Arts Council have been partially restored.

But a host of provincial arts groups have not been significantly supported by the council. Over the years, they have established ongoing funding through the B.C. Gaming Branch cultural grants. Those grants have been slashed.

Theatre Inconnu, among others, remains financially devastated as gaming grants have been stripped from cultural programs, promised gaming revenue has been taken from charities and outrageous criteria changes have rendered most cultural groups ineligible.

Those groups that previously received significant operational funding from the B.C. Arts Council are able to breathe a bit of a sigh of relief.

We other groups look forward to extinction, knowing that decades of commitment, service and contributions (both financially and socially) to the community have no recognized value for the government or the public voices focused on the drama unfolding around B.C. Arts Council funding.

Theatre Inconnu has been producing theatre in Victoria and B.C. since 1978. Since our incorporation nine years later as a nonprofit/charitable organization, we have produced 96 plays. We have toured productions in six countries. We have seen hundreds of young theatre artists showcase their talents on our stage; many have gone on to national and international fame and fortune.

And we continue to serve as a valuable stepping stone between the training institutions and the fully professional world.

We have managed two “home” venues (10 years in Market Square and almost seven years in Fernwood) that have been available at minimal cost (easily the cheapest in town) to other small cultural groups, who would not otherwise have been able to afford to mount their productions, thus further fostering the development of young talent in the region.

Our entire budget, since incorporation 24 years ago, has been $2.4 million — not a lot by professional standards, but quite an achievement for a small alternative company.

During these years, we have paid out $1.1 million in wages and artist fees. Our annual applications to the B.C. Arts Council have succeeded in bringing us an average of $2,300 per year, while our Gaming Branch application success has yielded $18,930 on average.

With 19 per cent of our budget covered by the Gaming Branch, we are able to leverage the remaining 79 per cent ($79,900 annually) which is channelled back into the community through wages and fees and the purchase of production supplies and services.

If the current Gaming Branch funding situation is not rectified, that contribution will be lost. Instead, one unemployed staff person will be applying for employment insurance.

Ironically, this elimination of our Gaming Branch funds comes at the conclusion of a successful six-year joint lobby effort with the Fernwood Community Association to pressure the City of Victoria into honouring a commitment to renovate our current home, the Little Fernwood Hall, into a multipurpose cultural gathering place ideally suited for small performing groups.

In a fair political environment, having contributed 24 years of cultural, social and financial service to the community, Theatre Inconnu might expect the reward of an offer of — at the least — a partial restoration of these lost funds, just as those groups funded through the B.C. Arts Council have experienced.

Currently, Theatre Inconnu is looking for a miracle to somehow survive the damage inflicted upon us by the province.

The focus has been on arts council funding issues.

But hey, the rest of us are dying out there too!

If there are no public voices speaking out on behalf of the numerous arts groups facing extinction due to the government’s grab of gaming funds, this province will lose an essential element in the ongoing development of artistic practice and arts appreciation in our society — groups, like Theatre Inconnu, who may not be fully professional but adhere faithfully to a mandate that encourages the growth of young talent by offering professional standard mentorship as well as financial reward, while developing audiences through the presentation of affordable, innovative and exciting theatre.

Theatre Inconnu’s most recent production, the Canadian première of Kyle Jarrow’s Kills, garnered

Love critical praise and played to standing ovations. In December, we will be producing the Canadian première of Stephen Mulrine’s Moscow

Stations. It is our hope that this will not prove our swan song.

Theatre Inconnu, like other groups, is racing against the clock to find ways to meet the shortfall caused by our total loss of gaming funds. Every bit of time and effort that should, at this point in our history, be directed towards producing a quality product is now being compromised as we scramble in an effort to interest our patrons in additional fundraising events (as is every other small theatre company in Victoria).

If there are any sympathetic voices out there, please speak up in favour of the restoration of cultural funding through the Gaming Branch. The political representatives need to be pressured and embarrassed on all cultural fronts, not just the highest-profile one.

Theatre Inconnu is Victoria’s longest surviving alternative theatre company

Finance Committee 2010 recommends increased arts funding

Below is the government’s press release regarding the 2010 report of the Standing Committee on Finance. The report can be found here. The arts and culture sector is grateful to everyone who appeared before the committee or wrote letters. The relevant portions of the report for arts read as follows:

The Finance Committee recommends that the provincial government:

27. Revisit eligibility criteria for community gaming grants; and consider reinstating grants for three years to provide stability, predictability and consistency.

28. Make funding of the arts a high priority in the 2011/12 budget by returning to overall actual funding levels of 2008/09 to encourage an independent and creative cultural sector.

November 12, 2010 Legislative Assembly Province of British Columbia

VICTORIA – The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released its report today on the Budget 2011 consultations. The report contains 59 recommendations for the next provincial budget, based on the 1,300 submissions received from the public. “We heard many suggestions on how to spend additional resources for existing programs and services, as well as new ones, at the 17 public hearings and in the written and on-line submissions,” said committee chair John Les, MLA. The report’s recommendations relate to health services, the education system, services for children and youth, community services, resource management and the public’s tax and fiscal priorities. The committee’s report urges the provincial government to consider:

* Keeping annual increases in health-care spending in line with the average growth of the provincial economy.
* Providing additional resources for research and outreach to community health services supporting patients with dementia, acquired brain injury, Parkinson’s or ALS.
* Reinvesting in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program.
* Reinstating a grants system targeted at under-represented groups in the post-secondary sector.
* Encouraging social entrepreneurship and investigating the use of social impact bonds.
* Allocating more resources for environmental protection and for natural resource industries.
* Exploring the feasibility of a home renovation tax credit.
* Accelerating the return to a balanced budget.

“The committee received a lot of good ideas from British Columbians,” added Les, “and we feel that the report reflects these priorities.” The budget consultations are held annually as part of the committee’s mandate. Further information, as well as copies of the committee’s report, is available online at http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/index.htm.


The members of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services are: John Les, MLA (Chilliwack), Chair; Doug Donaldson, MLA (Stikine), Deputy Chair; Norm Letnick, MLA (Kelowna-Lake Country); Don McRae, MLA (Comox Valley); Michelle Mungall, MLA (Nelson-Creston); Bruce Ralston, MLA (Surrey-Whalley); Bill Routley, MLA (Cowichan Valley); John Rustad, MLA (Nechako Lakes); Jane Thornthwaite, MLA (North Vancouver-Seymour); John van Dongen, MLA (Abbotsford South).