As the President of the Kent Harrison Arts Council I would like to respond to a few statements made in the article entitled ‘Some plates left empty as District of Kent carves grants-in-aid pie’ published in the February 19th edition of the Observer.
Our council was grateful to receive a grant from the District this year to aid in the programming we provide to the community. We have applied for and received similar funding from the District in 2014 and 2013 after a long break from applying at all to the District – not quite ‘year after year’ as is stated in the article.
I believe it is important to note that our Provincial funding is contingent upon our council proving that we are supported financially by our local government. In fact, funding by our local government is matched up to a certain dollar value by the BC Arts Council. The British Columbia Arts Council, which is an agency of the Provincial government must divide up its own funding pie between arts councils all over the province. Proving we are supported by the Village of Harrison and the District of Kent shows the BC Arts Council what we do to provide high quality arts programming, by way of exhibitions at the Ranger Station Art Gallery, the only public art gallery in the area, workshops in various disciplines, children’s and young adult programming and our Artist in Residence program, is valued by the governing bodies in our community and viewed as enriching the lives of its citizens.
In order to be able to deliver the wide range of cultural programming we offer, often in partnership with the Agassiz Public Library and the Harrison Festival Society, we rely on funding from a variety of organizations and funding bodies including the Kent Harrison Foundation. We are a volunteer-run organization, our board of directors serve on all committees, and we work very hard to deliver excellent programming in an area where limited opportunities exist for professional artists to show their work and for aspiring artists to take part in professional exhibitions and attend workshops to further their skills and artistic development. Much of what we deliver is free of charge or offered at an extremely accessible rate, therefore, we strongly believe District taxpayers are receiving excellent value for their $1500.00.
Rebecca Schram, President
Kent Harrison Arts Council