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Arts council seeks funds from qathet Regional District

Project designed to help connect people to artisans and organizations
SEEKING ASSISTANCE: qathet Regional District Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick had questions about potential funding for the Texada Island studio tour when Powell River Council for Arts and Culture made a presentation for funding to the regional district’s finance committee.

Powell River Council for Arts and Culture is seeking qathet Regional District (qRD) funding to expand information to assist people in accessing and finding out about the region’s arts and cultural amenities.

At the October 20 qRD finance committee meeting, Karen Kamon, president of the arts and culture council, said she wanted to introduce herself because her organization had submitted an application of $15,000 for financial assistance. She said the grant is to support the council’s cultural adaptations project.

“The council for arts and culture is in the process of doing public engagement to reach out to different aspects of the artists and the arts and cultural organizations in the qathet region,” said Kamon. “The primary focus with the financial ask is to create a resource for all of the artists and arts and culture groups in the region.

“We’ll be creating an asset map so it’s easier for people moving into the community to find the artists, since we don’t currently have a map of the artists and arts and culture organizations. It’s hard for people to be found. We started reaching out to the galleries and we’re starting to do our outreach to the artists, and we’ve been working with the festivals because they are starting to get up and running again. We’re trying to find out the current culture needs.”

Kamon said with the cultural adaptation, artisan arts organizations present on different platforms. She said some invite people into their studios, some people advertise online.

“Through the cultural adaptations, we’re trying to bridge together the artists and the patrons of the arts,” said Kamon. “When you look at the audience and the patrons, they have different ways that they access artists, artisans and arts facilities. We’re trying to create a map that is multi-platform, using digital as well as print, so we’re able to connect everybody.

“The arts and culture section is about a $1 billion industry for the province, so it’s not just a tourism asset, it’s a community asset. I think we all realize now, having Zoom meetings for a couple of years, how important it is to be gathering and how important it is to be connecting, and trying to optimize those connections, for the economic benefits, but also the health and safety of everyone in the community.”

Director asks about Texada tour

Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick said that in a written presentation to the finance committee, the council mentioned a list of organizations it has supported. She said the second item on the list was the Texada Island studio tour. She said she was the tour director in 2012, 2014 and 2018.

“We did apply to the Powell River arts council in the early years of the tour and were turned down because we were not in Powell River,” said McCormick. “At the time, we were told you only served artists and organizations in the city.

“I understand you have a new purpose and that was approved in 2018. Since there has not been a studio tour since that new purpose was adopted in 2018, how do you regard the Texada Island studio tour?”

Kamon said her organization has been trying to reach the Texada Arts, Culture and Tourism Society and it has been challenging because both groups are volunteer based.

“What we are trying to do is we see how important it is for all of us to be working together,” said Kamon. “Arts and culture is a big sector in our community and we’ve been laying the groundwork for about four years. We were lucky enough to have about 75 per cent of the funding, through the BC Arts Council, as well as the City of Powell River, to work towards a larger regional model. We’re hoping to have the support of the regional district to help bridge the community.”

McCormick said she wanted to ask the same question, which was how has Kamon’s organization supported the Texada studio tour?

Kamon said the arts council tried to put that information out in its advertising to support initiatives they see other groups doing.

“We try to help all of the organizations that way, and I hope in the future, we are able to fund that studio tour more,” said Kamon.

McCormick said the arts council hadn’t funded it at all.

Chair ends debate

Finance committee chair and city director George Doubt said it was a question period, and it was not an opportunity for debate.

“You’ve asked a question and you’ve asked a follow-up question,” said Doubt.

Electoral Area C director Clay Brander asked how the information being collected by the arts council could be accessed by the public.

Kamon said the arts council is hoping to develop digital platforms and brochures, as well as print advertising, to help get the word out.

Brander said Tourism Powell River has an app and maybe some of the information could be shared with the tourism organization.

Doubt said Kamon was asking for a grant-in-aid for $15,000 from the regional district, and he understands that will be coming to the regional board on a later agenda. Manager of financial services Linda Greenan said all of the applications submitted by the August 31 deadline will be going to the November 17 finance committee meeting.