Arts funding conundrum could be solved

We say: A little compromise will go a long way to end the stalemate.

If the world was a perfect place, the Sooke arts community would be showered with money, and the district’s grants review committee would have money to burn.

Unfortunately those scenarios are more about dreams than reality.

The community grant review committee is recommending to District of Sooke council to slash funding to both the Sooke Community Arts Council and the Sooke Fine Arts Society, among others.

The committee has been faced with the prospect of not having enough money for all the requests and has been forced to recommend, in some cases, drastic cuts.

Sooke Community Arts Council was seeking $4,000 from the municipality. The committee is recommending that the council receive no funds. The fine arts society saw its $7,000 request cut in half.

The decisions, of course, will have ramification. Without the funding from the district, the arts council will not be able to get matching funding from the B.C. Arts Council and in turn not help with many art- and culturally based activities within the municipality.

The committee takes its direction from council, and looks to get the best value for the taxpayers dollar.

It’s at this crossroad where this year the two sides have come to a Y in the road.

Perhaps there is a solution here that can be taken either by the committee or council.

How about taking a look at the funding again? Could the district open up its pocketbook for a little more funding and perhaps the arts council and fine arts society could ask for less?

By shooting slings and arrows, nothing gets accomplished.

The arts are important to Sooke and council has to recognize that with several initiatives over the years (most recently the reestablishment of the Sooke Program for the Arts), but it also has a responsibility to be the wise caretakers of taxpayers’ money.

A little compromise on both fronts would go a long way to end the stalemate.


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