Lack of funding sources growing evident

Hard financial realities continue to dog Kelowna’s arts organizations, causing them to be more creative in their fundraising endeavours, and more reliant on the city’s Professional Arts Grants, council was informed this week.

Hard financial realities continue to dog Kelowna’s arts organizations, causing them to be more creative in their fundraising endeavours, and more reliant on the city’s Professional Arts Grants, council was informed this week.

“We have been monitoring the situation since 2009,” said Sandra Kochan, the city’s cultural services manager, referring to the date when the provincial government yanked gaming grant funds, sparking a public outcry from arts, sports and non-profit organizations across B.C.

“Other than Canada Arts Council funding, there’s not a lot out there.”

That prompted Coun. Charlie Hodge to ask whether demands on the city coffers have increased.

“The organizations have been respectful and appreciative of the support that has been ongoing from the city,” said Kochan. “And while there’s a need for more funding, there’s an appreciation that local government can’t possibly fill those gaps.”

The gaps left are substantial, however, and Kochan pointed out that a loss of gaming grants left the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra short $147,000 and the Alternator Centre for Contempory Art out $34,000.

The Kelowna Ballet was also short handed, but they’ve since embarked on a fundraising campaign that’s filling the gaps left by the government’s financial desertion.

“(These groups) are an important resource to the community at large,” said Kochan, pointing out that they bring tourism, as well as jobs to the region.

“We’re fortunate to have them here, beyond own mandates they support the work of others.”

At the end of the day, council approved a recommendation from staff to distribute $95,000 in Professional Arts Grants to the Okanagan Symphony ($50,000), Kelowna Ballet Society ($25,000) and the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art ($20,000).