This week Vancouver awarded $92,100 for creative arts and heritage programs to boost the cultural landscape of the city over the next year.
The money comes from the city’s cultural grant program, created in 2019 to help arts and cultural organizations host programs and events. This year, the city awarded grants to 15 projects across 12 organizations.
“All of us on the Culture, Arts and Heritage Commission are excited by the quality of the work and commitment to community these artists are showing,” commissioner Beth Harrington said in a press release. “Being able to bolster these projects and organizations through the cultural grant program is supremely gratifying.”
The projects range from a Christmas concert by the Vancouver Master Chorale to a film from Autism Empowerment.
Bravo! Vancouver, which hosts free concert series around the year, plans to use its $5,000 award to kick-start its school concert series, in which musicians and music educators will visit Vancouver public schools to perform and share music history lessons.
“It will be not just performances, but history, historical context, the context of our culture, and an opportunity for kids to actively engage and actively participate,” Michael Kissinger, artistic director of the group, said. Kissinger said the series will likely begin next spring.
Other awardees will use the money to fund large annual events, such as the Northwest Performing Arts Alliance and the Vancouver Ballet Folklórico, which will use its $10,000 award for its annual Day of the Dead celebration.
“Public art showcases local identity and showcases culture,” Michael Walker, executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association, said. “It creates interest in the downtown. It showcases our community pride, and visitors coming into town are able to experience an immersive district that has elements like public art that create a strong sense of place.”
Vancouver’s Downtown Association received $10,000 for two murals on the East Evergreen Boulevard overpass above Interstate 5 in Vancouver. The murals will cover a combined 600 feet in length, Walker said.
“We’ll be painting garden scenes inspired by the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site,” Walker said. “In addition to local wildlife, what we’re really excited about for this particular mural is it will also act as a giant scavenger hunt for children and adults to participate.”
Work on the murals began this week and will likely finish later this fall, Walker said.
Walker said the grant program allows organizations to pursue opportunities that might not be attainable otherwise, such as the murals.
“If we didn’t receive this grant, we wouldn’t be able to do it on a scale that we’re doing now,” he said. “So it really provides a launchpad for us to complete these wider reaching projects for the community.”
The commission allocated an additional $25,000 for the Vancouver Arts and Music Festival.