Vancouver Island Arts Councils get big grant for investment in digital skills

Several Island arts councils banded together to receive the $212,000 grant

The Ladysmith Art Council, along with the Comox Valley Arts Council, Cowichan Valley Arts Council, Saltspring Island Arts, and Hornby Island Art Council, received a $212,000 grant for the development of a digital innovation group for Vancouver Island artists.

“We’re doing a baseline survey of what art councils are doing at the moment, and that will lead us to doing a research piece of what we can do better with technology, how technology will help us, and what the future of art councils will look like,” LAC member, Ora Steyn said.

Steyn said that art councils operate for the most part on small budgets and are run primarily by volunteers. The implementation of technology to be shared among all Vancouver Island art councils could have significant long term benefits for their operation models.

“How do we promote ourselves? How do we market ourselves? How do we deliver classes? Is there a way of doing it online, and what is the best way?” Steyn said. “Once we know what we need to proceed we will implement the solutions we find and do the training.”

In the summer 2019, the LAC held an online webcast featuring Terry O’Reilly, host of Under the Influence on CBC to learn more about how to market Vancouver Island’s artists. That event was funded by the Canada Council for Arts Digital Strategy Fund, and set the idea of the Digital innovation group in motion. Over 300 artists joined the live webcast.

The guiding vision is to establish Vancouver Island as an arts powerhouse because of the large amount of artists who live on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

“People here have the passion for what they’re doing. One Canada Council saw there was a real need, and people who wanted to address the need, we were successful with our grant,” Steyn said.

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