HRM committee approves funding boost for arts in Halifax
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Local arts organizations could have access to more public funding next year as $300,000 in grants was approved by HRM’s Community Planning & Economic Development standing committee (CPED) on Thursday.
Coun. Waye Mason made the motion to approve a staff report that recommended the committee approve the funds, implement an interim professional arts organization grant program, and start an arts and culture advisory committee with a peer jury process (possibly called Arts HRM).
“It’s been a long time coming,” Mason said during the meeting.
Mayor Mike Savage said he was “particularly proud” the committee was taking the step to support the local arts scene.
“We can do more, we should do more. The economic impact from the creative economy is hugely beneficial,” Savage said.
The motion also directed staff to investigate other recommendations from the Special Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, like having the future arts advisory committee work closely with organizations like Arts Nova Scotia, and promote local talent on marketing materials.
“It’s a great acknowledgement on behalf of HRM that professional arts organizations matter,” said Neptune Theatre general manager Amy Melmock after the meeting. “It’s very forward-thinking of the council.”
According to an analysis of arts funding by Kelly Hill Strategies, Halifax invested $7 million into grant funding and operating costs in 2012/2013, or $17.25 per capita.
This puts HRM fifth among seven of the participating cities in the study and just under the average funding level of $18.62 per capita.
The report recommends increasing funding in the coming years by $765,000 to meet the national average of municipal arts funding by 2017.