FROM THE LEGISLATURE – Supporting arts and culture in Kamloops
By KELLI PADDON
ARTS AND CULTURE organizations are the heartbeats of our communities. From comedic relief to cultural connection to inspirational storytelling, it’s critical that we continue to support this sector and the talented people who make art happen.
That’s why last week we announced $34.5 million in funding to make arts and culture organizations across B.C. more resilient, including in Kamloops.
The pandemic brought many challenges for the arts community, and we saw creativity flourish as artists pivoted to new virtual platforms and safer in-person events. But while much of the world is getting back to business as usual, the impacts to this sector are still being felt. In addition to health and safety impacts, the economic impacts for the sector have been much long-lasting.
Our job as a government is to listen to people so that we can take the right action and make life better. We heard from organizations that they are still experiencing loss of audiences, increased costs, staffing shortages, and reduced revenues from sponsorships and admissions. We heard they needed more support and so we stepped in.
This funding will support arts and culture organizations to continue and expand their work, which will keep our communities vibrant and connected. Funding can be used to rebuild and attract audiences, address labour shortages, renew business models, alleviate inflationary pressures on operating costs, as well as make capital improvements, make spaces more accessible, and purchase specialized equipment.
The Kamloops Art Gallery is receiving $111,770 and the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra is receiving $140,888, just to name a couple local organizations who are being recognized.
By alleviating some of the pressure on these local arts and culture organizations, we can help them thrive today and prepare for tomorrow. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, I’m looking forward to exploring more of our province, and supporting the unique local arts and culture scene in different communities. I encourage you to do the same!
Kelli Paddon was elected MLA for Chilliwack-Kent in the 2020 provincial election. She is the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity.
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