Vancouver moving to support arts, creative community excellence, not just increase funding

Vancouver’s support for the arts and cultural sector, already the best in the country on a “dollars per capita” basis, is going to shift to a new focus on excellence and resilience in the next five years.

That much was clear from today’s council report by Richard Newirth, managing director for cultural services.

Vancouver’s emerging priority will be quality, not just quantity, a shift driven in part by the collapse of the Playhouse Theatre, notwithstanding a significant injection of funds for what was considered a “keystone” institution in the city’s arts infrastructure.

For here on, Newirth said, the city will seek to foster “cultural leadership” and innovation by sustainable arts organizations that have city support in the form of grants, assets and services. Policy changes driven by the new direction will come to council for review and approval.

As soon as Newirth was done, council approved a $238,000 grant to Vantage Point, a partnership agreement that provides new tools for cultural organizations to assess their strengths and tackle their weaknesses.