COVID-19 forced a local arts organization to significantly revise its budget.
The public heard on Nov. 23 that ArtSea Community Arts Council cut its original revenue projections from from $204,838 to $78,773 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Corresponding expenses dropped from $191,4023 to $62,258.
The figures appeared in a presentation Kirsten Norris, the organization’s communications coordinator, to Sidney council.
Like so many organizations, the pandemic forced the ArtSea to cancel or postpone many programs and initiatives planned before the pandemic. Measures included the immediate closure of the ArtSea Gallery and subsequent layoff of the society’s administrator and coordinator. The gallery re-opened on Sept. 4.
Looking on the revenue side, programming revenues dropped to seven per cent from 40 per cent of total revenues as COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the Sidney Fine Art Show and loss of the rental revenue during the closure of the ArtSea Gallery.
Revenue from grants, donations and sponsorships also fell, dropping to 10 per cent of revenue from a typical share of 18 per cent. COVID-relief funds supplied a 12 per cent supplement, the public heard.
“ArtSea will continue to seek pandemic related government assistance available to the arts and culture sector, including new grant programs and employee payroll assistance,” the report read.
Ultimately, support from the society’s municipal partners and the province accounts for almost 75 of the funds, with Sidney and North Saanich combining for a total of 45 per cent.
But if the pandemic reduced the society’s revenue with corresponding cuts on the expense side, the public also heard the society either revised existing programs to fit pandemic protocols or created new ones such as the program that encouraged the community to honour veterans with hand-painted rocks for Remembrance Day.
“Since March, ArtSea has invested countless hours to present new or adapted programs that provide a safe and healthy way to participate in arts and culture, and create a sense of community connection,” it reads.
Perhaps the most visible achievement this year is the ongoing revitalization of the sculpture walk with the addition of two works, in partnership with the town.
These additions included the purchase of the piece called The Keeper, a five-ton sandstone block created by Vancouver-based artist Ronald T. Crawford standing near the Sidney-to-Anacortes ferry terminal. Greater Victoria sculptor Armando Barbon also donated a bronze sculpture titled Pure Energy to the sculpture walk.
The public also heard that the society has an agreement with Sidney to purchase of Eye of the Ocean in 2021.
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