Gemma Elliott’s art show at the museum last year. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Gemma Elliott’s art show at the museum last year. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Province to offer support to artists through the pandemic

Announces a $500,000 Pivot for Individuals program through the BC Arts Council

The province is taking note of the rising toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on different sectors and has now announced a new grant to help professional artists and those involved in arts.

In a news release, the province’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport announced this $500,000 grant that will help artists find newer paths or work on developing their art.

“Together with the arts sector, we are working hard to make sure that dancers, writers, painters and other artists can continue being resilient and finding innovative ways to keep creating through COVID-19,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “We’re building on our support for arts and culture in British Columbia by helping artists adapt their work, ensuring our province has a strong creative industry to enjoy when the pandemic is over.”

According to Statistics Canada, unemployment in arts and culture is higher than average and has not recovered at the pace of other B.C. industries. With several artists having to suffer as a result of cancelled events, venue closures and the pandemic-related restrictions around gathering, the new grant program is being introduced to help them find some support.

The grant program, which is called Pivot for Individuals program, is being launched through the BC Arts Council.

People can apply for up to $12,000 to learn new skills or adapt their practices. Some of the examples of who can apply for the grant are, artists who wish to modify a dance piece for a smaller audience or wanting to learn new skills, such as video editing. Those artists who are seeking professional development, like mentorship or training will also able to apply for the grant.

Since March 2020, more than 108 microgrants have been given to artists to help them adapt to changes in the sector through the BC Arts Council, in partnership with Yosef Wosk Family Foundation and City of Vancouver and over 740 microgrants to musicians were given to support free livestreams on Showcase BC through Creative BC.

The Pivot for Individuals program is open for professional artists and cultural workers, including dancers and choreographers, visual artists, writers, actors, multi-media artists and arts administrators.

Bob D’Eith, Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film said in the news release,“Artists have been hit hard by the pandemic. We need to support them now to make sure they can inspire and entertain us later.”

The applications for the program will be accepted until Feb. 16 and the BC Arts Council will award the grants in early spring.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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