The Ladysmith Arts Council and the Ladysmith Ambassadors Program both requested to put their Grant in Aid funds toward events in 2021. The Ladysmith Ambassadors are pictured here at the 2019 Lake Days parade. (Lexi Bainas photo)

The Ladysmith Arts Council and the Ladysmith Ambassadors Program both requested to put their Grant in Aid funds toward events in 2021. The Ladysmith Ambassadors are pictured here at the 2019 Lake Days parade. (Lexi Bainas photo)

Council votes to allow unused 2020 Grant in Aid funds to be carried over to 2021

COVID-19 caused the cancellation of some events that received GIA funding

Town Council has voted to allow 2020 Grant in Aid (GIA) recipients to carry unused funds into 2021.

Council budgeted $64,129 GIA funding in 2020. GIA recipients are required to report to the Town by Dec. 31 each year on how their GIA funds were used.

Many of the requests were made prior to COVID-19. Some organizations withdrew their GIA request when it was clear that their event was not going to take place. Other organizations received their GIA, though their event did not take place as anticipated. Some of these organizations asked council if they could to retain their 2020 GIA request and not apply in 2021.

Two organizations that made requests are the Ladysmith Arts Council (LAC) and the Ladysmith Ambassadors Program.

In a letter to council, the LAC requested that the GIA funding for their annual Arts on the Avenue event, which was cancelled due to COVID-19, go toward supporting their 2021 Fine Arts Show — a juried exhibition that features artists from across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. The Fine Arts Show will be hosted online in February 2021.

“COVID-19 restrictions have impeded our fundraising abilities this year; therefore, we request that the unused portion of our Grant in Aid go toward the Fine Art Show instead of towards our Arts on the Ave event. We have had to purchase new software, train staff, as well as pay judges and advertising. In addition, cash prizes are awarded to artists in various categories. We are also planning for Arts on the Avenue 2021, and we will be applying for Grant in Aid for that event shortly,” the LAC wrote.

The Ladysmith Ambassador Program had been hoping to hold events in late 2020, specifically their annual Speech and Talent and Coronation Evening, but the changing COVID-19 situation made that impossible.

“We had to make the decision to postpone the program once again for the safety of all involved and told the Candidates that have dedicated so much time to the program that we hope they will participate next year,” they wrote.

“We are hoping we do not have to re-pay the Grant and will not apply again for the 2021 Grant: it has been a challenging time for everyone this year.”

A portion of unused 2020 GIA funding was used to purchase picnic tables along First Avenue and at Transfer Beach. The Town also allocated GIA funding to support the local economy, providing $3,000 in GIA funds to the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association for their ‘Hot August Nights’ event.

The proposed budget for 2021 Grants in Aid is $62,550. Applications for 2021 GIAs must be completed by Dec. 31, 2020.