Arts Council approved for $5,000 in ongoing funds from RDN

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, March 20 2018

The Regional District of Nanaimo will be providing $5,000 from Gabriola taxes to the Gabriola Arts Council in an ongoing basis.

The funding comes from Bylaw 1023, which established a tax function for activities relates to pleasure, recreation, and other community use.

To date, according to Area B Director Howard Houle, only the Gabriola Recreation Society has been funded through that function.

Only Gabriolans contribute to that bylaw.

Houle said providing that funding, “is of significant value to the community, and will increase the value of the money.”

Michelle Benjamin, GAC Executive Director, said the monies will enable GAC to apply for funding from the BC Arts Council.

The BC Arts Council provides Operating Grants to community arts councils. The funding is dependent on the organization receiving local government funding, which in most cases means municipal funding. GAC has been allowed into the program in the past despite not reaching the eligibility requirements. 

“However, this year we were given notice that they would be cracking down. Without this money from the RDN, we would be ineligible to receive up to $15,000 in operating funds; with this $5,000, we are assured of receiving at least an additional $5,000, as they match the amount received from local government up to a maximum of $5,000.” 

GAC uses this money for general operational expenses—everything from office supplies to salaries, event advertising to building maintenance, artist honorariums to workshop supplies. 

Benjamin said, “Because of other changes to the structure of this program, our funding dropped by $13,000 this year, which has been a big and unexpected blow. It’s reassuring to know that we will be making some of that up next year, thanks to Howard’s work to shepherd our request through the RDN process.”

Local government funding is also an eligibility required for funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage Local Festival’s program. This program provides $3,000 to $6,000 per festival  for the GAC’s major events. 

“As with the BC Arts Council, they have overlooked our official ineligibility every year, but it’s always a concern. These events—including the Isle of the Arts Festival, the Studio Tour, and the new Cultivate performance festival—would be at risk without this funding.”

The monies will come out of the 2018-2019 RDN budget, specifically from Gabriola Island.

Like other organizations (like the Gabriola Recreation Society and Gabriola Museum) funded through the RDN in an ongoing basis, GAC will be required to provide a year-end report back to the RDN Board to show what has been done with the funding for that year.