The Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Arts Council received $22,255 in grant funding from the B.C. Arts Council.
Curtis Pendleton, The ACT Arts Centre executive director, said the grant this year is approximately $2,200 more than the one received last year.
“It’s a few thousand dollars more. Every bit of it counts for us because we like to be efficient and make sure these dollars go as far as they can to serve as many people,” said Pendleton.
MLA Lisa Beare made the announcement and said in a press release the investment is part of the $17 million in grants that were awarded by the province’s arts funding agency.
“B.C.’s arts community is part of a creative and sustainable economy that works for people, and this funding means Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows creators can further develop the arts in our community,” said MLA Beare.
Pendleton said the grants are written for specific operating programs.
“Those operating programs are everything from our arts programs which are primarily for youth and children through the parks and rec department, the ACT presents series, the art gallery, and school programs.”
The grants were awarded from January through July. The B.C. Arts Council determined who would receive the grants through an independent peer-review process.
Pendleton added that the increased grants allow Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to grow their communities.
“It means we can grow. This allows us to keep up and ensure that as we have more people, we will have enough programs and more to serve them.”
According to Pendleton, arts have been in demand.
“We’ve seen demand in the community. Part of my job is building our capacity so we can meet that demand. We don’t want to ever say we’re full to any person who wants to participate in a program here.”
Ensuring community arts reaches classrooms is a concern for Pendleton.
“In the past, we’ve had to turn classes away when things fill up. This year we’re trying to increase those so every kid in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge has the opportunity to be in the building either in the audience, on our stage, or in our gallery,” said Pendleton.
Beare said that the 2018 budget increased the provincial support of the B.C. Arts Council by $15 million over the next three years. The B.C. Arts Council’s provincial support is at a total of $29 million in 2018-2019.
The investment aims to help artists and organizations develop in more than 200 communities throughout B.C.