A program aimed at leveraging arts funding by pairing arts organizations with local business has resulted in a second successful year in Kelowna.
The program, known as artsVest and operated by Business for the Arts, announced at a recent wrap-up celebration at the Rotary Centre for the Arts that participants of the program tripled their fundraising partnership goal this year, providing a boost of more than $300,000 to the local arts community.
“Kelowna and area organizations have had two full years of participation in artsVest,”said City of Kelowna cultural services manager Sandra Kochan.
“And the aggregate results are pretty impressive.”
She said in two years, a total of $699,370 of new investment has been generated for the local cultural sector.
“It proves that these organizations have found their voice about the value they provide, and local businesses are more than willing to partner with them.”
According to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran,who announced the totals at the wrap-up, 17 arts organizations secured sponsorship and matching funds, 65 partnerships were created and 51 were first time partnerships.
Basran said arts organizations reported that 55 of the 65 partnerships will be long-term.
A total of $71,635 in matching funds were distributed—$21,635 more than originally budgeted because of the success of the program here in 2014.
A total of $234,478 in sponsorship funds were raised by the 17 arts organizations that participated.
Basran said the total economic impact of artsVest in Kelowna during the 2014-15 year was $306,113.
ArtsVest is a sponsorship training and matching incentive program that assists small and medium-sized arts and culture organizations in securing sponsorships from businesses in their communities.
Delivered by Business for the Arts in communities across B.C. with funding from Canadian Heritage, the province and the city. The program is also offered in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
“We are delighted to see such impactful results for our second year in Kelowna,” said Claire Hefferon, artsVest national program director at Business for the Arts.
“All 17 organizations flew past their individual and collective sponsorship fundraising goals, injecting critical private sector investment into the cultural landscape of the community.”
Basran said for every dollar invested in the arts here, there is a return of more than $3.
Based on the success of the program here in 2014, Kelowna became the only city that has participated in artsVest to be allowed to run it for a second year in a row.
City officials said they hope to make history again next year by being the only city to host the program three years in a row.
If that is not possible, there is an opportunity for the city to fund it—on a smaller scale—on its own.
Since the expansion of artsVest across Canada in 2011, B.C. has seen 149 arts and cultural organizations create 619 partnerships in their communities while $837,500 in matching funds has sparked $2.25 million in private sector investment, with a total provincial impact of $3.09 million over three years.
Founded in 1974, Business for the Arts is Canada’s only national charitable organization of business members who support the arts.
It says its vision is to inspire Canada’s business community to partner with the arts to ensure a thriving cultural sector and connect, educate and invest to bridge the gap between business and the arts.