View of downtown Vancouver over trees

More than $8.4 million in funding approved to support the cultural growth and recovery of Vancouver

This investment provides over a hundred groups with the essential resources they need to deliver critical programs and services in support of the cultural growth and economic recovery of the city.

Branislav Henselmann, Managing Director of Cultural Services

January 19 2021 –

Today, City Council approved a total of $8,406,150 in grants to 144 cultural organizations to help them continue providing critical programs and services to artists, the cultural community, and the public.

In light of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on Vancouver's non-profit arts and culture sector, the full amount of this funding will be provided to most recipients straight away to help ensure they can remain sustainable. Under normal circumstances, the City would award 40% of the grant in January and the remaining 60% in April. 

"The arts and culture sector has been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and the City is committed to supporting Vancouver’s artists, creators, and cultural organizations through these difficult times,” said Branislav Henselmann, Managing Director of Cultural Services at City of Vancouver. 

"This investment provides over a hundred groups with the essential resources they need to deliver critical programs and services in support of the cultural growth and economic recovery of the city."

The grants will help a broad range of non-profit organizations to cover their core costs, and ensure that they can keep contributing to Vancouver’s vibrant and diverse cultural scene.

Grant recipient: Indian Summer Arts Society

One of the grant recipients is Indian Summer Arts Society who will receive $35,000 to sustain their distinctive arts and culture programming. In response to the COVID-19 Provincial Health Orders, the Indian Summer Arts Society pivoted their annual festival to be entirely virtual. The festival featured predominately IBPOC artists and reached audiences across six continents and 45 countries.

“We are grateful to the City for continuing to prioritize arts organizations during this pandemic year, recognizing that the arts are as needed as ever to imagine, narrate, and build the world we want to grow — not back to what was, but to what we might become. We are heartened that the City continues to recognize the importance of People of Colour-led arts organizations to continue to centre and amplify voices of racialized artists, resourcing us to operate while project funding (and ticket sales) became so precarious. Annual Assistance keeps the lights on, paying the costs of unsexy things, like the equipment and people we need in order to function as an organization," said Laura June Albert, Grants and Community Initiatives Manager for the Indian Summer Arts Society.

Grant recipient: Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society

Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society (PLEO) are set to receive $15,000 to continue to offer resources, workshops, and clinics for low-income artists throughout British Columbia and across Canada.

"Many arts organizations have been thrust into legal crises as a result of the pandemic and are seeking resources and advice they can afford. This money from the City will ensure we can continue to provide Vancouver's struggling arts and culture sector with free programs and resources they can use immediately, as we prepare to launch the country's first full service legal clinic for the arts," said Martha Rans, founder and Legal Director of PLEO, which operates Artists' Legal Outreach.

Aligning with civic policy and strategic directions

These grants align with the City's key civic policy and strategic directions, such as Culture|Shift, the COVID-19 Economic and Business Recovery program, the Reconciliation framework, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives.

The City has supported Vancouver-based, professional non-profit arts, cultural and creative organizations through cultural grants for more than 20 years.