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Partnerships key for first round of ArtsNow funds

Over 50 representatives of arts and culture organizations from Squamish to Mount Currie turned up at MY Place last Monday afternoon to hear ArtsNow executive director Lori Baxter’s description of what her organization "isn’t"



Those hoping to gain a piece of ArtsNow’s $12 million in funding for operating costs, existing project costs, or those hoping for insight on involvement with cultural activities for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralymic Games (the domain of VANOC and not ArtsNow) were let down point blank, albeit good-naturedly.

The straight-talking Baxter left the Vancouver-based Alliance for Arts and Culture last August to take the reigns of the arts and culture division of LegaciesNow – a not-for-profit society with a mandate to create sustainable province-wide legacies in the years leading up to the 2010 Games.

Phase I of Vancouver-based ArtsNow will invest $4.25 million in three pilot programs: Creative Communities, Catalyst and Innovations. In light of the impending initial deadline for Catalyst and Innovations, which has been set for Jan. 31, Baxter was secured by the Whistler Arts Council and the Sea to Sky office of VANOC to present an informational session for local arts organizations and potential partners of arts organizations.

Partnerships are key in the ArtsNow vision, Baxter emphasized. Rather than funding individual initiatives that have a limited scope, the program is seeking to fund partnerships that might expand a community’s artistic capacity – defined as more people participating in more artistic activities and enabling those communities to achieve new levels of artistic excellence. The partnership theme also extends outside a community’s borders, Baxter said. Communities with similar needs will be encouraged to partner to reach a common goal.

Baxter acknowledged that the brand new ArtsNow administration is in the position of having to learn along with the funding applicants, however, with a mandate to expend funding by 2007, there is hardly time to lose. The Jan. 31 deadline for the Catalyst and Innovations programs are a way for organizations that are prepared to get a jump up on funding. But if an organization is not yet ready, there will be another opportunity to receive funding in June. Creative Communities will continue to fund initiatives throughout the duration of the ArtsNow mandate.

Baxter also emphasized that though funded by the province, ArtsNow is run separate from the government, meaning accepting ArtsNow funding will not conflict with other sources of government funding, such as B.C. gaming revenues.

ArtsNow’s early focus is very obviously on collaborative efforts rather than individual pursuits, Baxter confirmed, although she assured the individual artists in attendance that upcoming programs will be more in tune with their needs.

For more information on ArtsNow or to access application forms go to www.2010LegaciesNow.com.

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