At lunch today Julie Sutherland and I sat in on the Alliance For Arts and Culture presentation to the provincial government's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. (A superb presentation - clear, professional, positive, convincing - from Heather Redfern of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, Adrienne Wong of neworld theatre, and Richard Prokopanko of Alcan, whose substantial annual arts grants have made a tremendous impact in our province). The arts community is advocating for a significant increase to the current government's support of the arts in the 2007-2009 provincial budgets.
Some rather striking facts and figures came forward today, particularly in the context of all I've been hearing and reading in the news about British Columbia's booming economy. BC ranks seventh or eight among all Canadian provinces in its funding of the arts, and dead last in its support for the performing arts.
More specifically, Quebec performing companies receive an average of 26% of their annual budget from provincial government sources, the national average is 13%, and BC companies receive an average of only 7% of their annual budget from provincial government sources. (Provincial funding for Pacific Theatre's current season amounts to 4.6% of our budget.)