Arts Whistler is preparing to launch a new initiative for local musicians and content creators after receiving an $80,000 grant from an unlikely source.
The BC Rural Dividend fund—from the provincial Forest, Lands, Natural Resources Operations department—aims to support economic development in rural B.C. “In reality, it’s not an arts grant,” says Mo Douglas, executive director of Arts Whistler. “It’s so interesting to me. This grant for us was a real exercise in, ‘You never know what might happen, so it’s worth doing.’”
The grant required proposed projects to somehow increase employment in a rural area in a field with underemployment. To that end, Arts Whistler’s proposal was dubbed the “Employment Diversification and Resilience Project.”
With the funding, the organization will pair up local content creators—including directors, videographers and photographers—with musicians to create promotional tools for them.
“So the content creators get some work creating content for their portfolios and the music act gets a promotional tool—like a video—to promote themselves and, ideally, get better gigs,” Douglas says. “As it says in the grant, our purpose is to make Whistler a more viable and sustainable place to work.”
In total, they expect to be able to create 12 different promotional videos for 12 different musical acts from the Sea to Sky corridor, spanning from Squamish to Pemberton.
“We have a 16-to-18-month program,” Douglas says. “It gives us time to have this work done and have it done well … This (grant) is actually quite practical and (has) a realistic timeframe.”
While they’ll spend the next month firming up details before doing outreach for applications, Douglas says they expect to hire 14 professionals for the project, ranging from marketing roles to directors and A/V providers.
Their goal is to find people who have some experience in their field, but could use a boost to round out their resume. “The content creators are working professionals, but could use more opportunities and tools in their toolkit. The bands have been around a while, are tight, doing great performances. They’re busy and committed to staying together long-term and they’re creating original music. Those are some things folks should think about,” Douglas adds.
Arts Whistler also stands to benefit from the influx of professional promotional videos as well. “We’re working on upgrading our member profiles portal anyway, but this will allow us to elevate the content for people ready to produce it at that level,” Douglas says. “That’s super exciting too; we can showcase this (before) our shows and on our screens in the building. Ultimately, this kind of thing is exponential.”
For more information on how to apply, stay tuned to artswhistler.com or sign up for Arts Whistler’s newsletter.