artsVest grants encourage business participation in arts and culture

Six Williams Lake and area arts, culture and heritage groups have attracted $36,500 in matching incentive funding.

Six Williams Lake and area arts, culture and heritage groups have attracted $36,500 in matching incentive funding from the artsVest program that could leverage as much as five times that amount in business partnerships.

The news about the 2014/15 grants was delivered in a recent letter to local arts organizations by artsVest program manager Kathleen Speakman.

In the Williams Lake area the 2014/15 Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society receives $5,000; Community Arts Council of Williams Lake receives $8,000; Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society receives $5,000; Potato House Sustainable Community Society receives $3,500; Station House Gallery and Studio Society receives $10,000; and the West Chilcotin Museum and Historical Society receives $5,000.

Launched in 2002, artsVest is a program of Business for the Arts, a national charitable organization of business members who support the arts that was founded in 1974. The organization is supported by a range of private and public sector funders, including the B.C. government and works to inspire Canada’s business community to partner with the arts to ensure a thriving cultural sector.

It connects, educates and invests to bridge the gap between business and the arts.

“We don’t require groups to use the funds for a specific project as our objective is to engage them in building business partnerships,” Speakman says.

“They are free to utilize the funds as they choose.”

The artsVest program has helped almost 150 small to mid-sized B.C. arts groups acquire skills and make alliances that will help them continue to make their communities great places to live, work, visit and build a future, reports Speakman.

In 2013/14, she says artsVest BC communities raised from three to six times their matching grants, from local businesses.

This year a total of 63 organizations located in Prince George, the Cariboo Chilcotin, Thompson/North Okanagan, Kelowna, the Fraser Valley and Nanaimo have qualified to participate in the artsVest BC program.

“Arts and culture play an important role supporting the quality of life in British Columbia, including rural communities,” said Donna Barnett, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA in the press release.

“The artsVest program has helped arts groups in areas with comparatively modest populations learn how to raise funds and build stronger relationships with their local business community.”

“Our Society is thrilled to have been inspired by the ArtsVest program to make our first ever approach to the business communities of Williams Lake and 100 Mile House,” said Graham Leslie, secretary, Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society.

“We have been overwhelmed by the extraordinary extent of the support we have received from more than 20 sponsors.  Thank you, ArtsVest, and thank you, our generous sponsors.”