Local organizations get a hand up through artsVest

Vernon arts, culture, heritage groups have opened an early Christmas present with strategic investments to encourage business partnerships.

  • Dec. 24, 2014 3:00 p.m.

Four Vernon arts, culture and heritage groups have opened an early Christmas present by making strategic investments to encourage business partnerships.

The Monashee Arts Council, O’Keefe Ranch, Powerhouse Theatrical Society and the Vernon Public Art Gallery have attracted $20,500 in matching incentive funding that could leverage as much as five times that amount in business partnerships.

The program, supported by a range of private and public sector funders, including the Government of British Columbia, has proved successful in communities in various regions across B.C.

ArtsVest has already helped approximately 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.

In 2013/14, artsVest B.C. communities raised from three to six times their matching grants from local businesses.

“The artsVest program is helping cultural organizations in Vernon build positive relationships with local businesses,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster. “As a result, arts groups are receiving more local funding for cultural events and programs that help support a high quality of life for everyone in the community.”

“I was very excited to see this program come to town,” added Dauna Kennedy-Grant, executive director of the Vernon Public Art Gallery. “I have been tracking it since it started in Ontario and recognized the important role it could play in aiding groups such as the Vernon Public Art Gallery in forming and strengthening partnerships within the business community.

“Although this is currently a one-year opportunity, I am hopeful the federal government will recognize the benefits artsVest provides for arts organizations and makes it available in the North Okanagan again at some point in the future.”

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 B.C. program.

ArtsVest was developed by Business for the Arts and expanded across Canada in 2011. It is currently also operating in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Toronto.

For more national information, visit www.businessforthearts.org.