BY JEFF LEE, VANCOUVER SUN JUNE 5, 2014
VANCOUVER — City hall is bringing some relief to Vancouver’s embattled arts community, which has for years complained about a lack of stable accommodation, with a $5-million commitment to help groups find, buy or rent their own space.
Most of the money — $4.5 million — is coming from community amenity contributions the city collected from a developer in return for approving the controversial Rize Alliance tower in Mount Pleasant. Those funds will help four groups — Western Front, grunt gallery, Arts Factory and a combination of VIVO Media Arts and C-Space, to buy or rent their own space.
The city is also putting up one-third of a $900,000 seed fund to the Toronto Artscape group create a B.C. affiliate that will emulate its successful endeavours to find workspace and sometimes living space for artists. The $300,000 in Artscape money, coming from the city’s Innovation Fund, is contingent upon matching dollars from the Vancity Community Foundation and the McConnell Foundation.
In a report going to council Wednesday, city staff say the funding from the Rize development will help stabilize arts groups in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, one of the city’s “artistic hubs.” They note that over 50 cultural non-profits operate in the neighbourhood, but they face increased pressure from urban redevelopment.
Under the proposal, the city will give out $2.2 million to Western Front, grunt gallery and Arts Factory to secure or enhance their existing facilities. Of that, Western Front gets $1.5 million, grunt gallery $400,000 and Arts Factory $300,000…