Aug 25 2019
Reproduced from the Edmonton Journal MOIRA WYTON
Artists across Alberta will be getting a financial boost this fall.
Edmonton-Centre MP Randy Boissonnault announced Sunday on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism that more than $4 million in federal funding has been allocated to support more than 50 arts and cultural organizations across the province.
Speaking from the Fringe grounds on the festival’s final day, Boissonnault stressed that the announcement is part of closing the funding gap between artists in Alberta and in other provinces.
“Whether it’s the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, or right here at the International Fringe Festival, Edmonton punches well above its weight in the arts and culture,” said Boissonnault. “And I can tell you, it’s not only an economic boost, it’s a cultural boost.”
Currently, Alberta represents 8 per cent of Canada’s artists and receives around 5 per cent of federal arts funding, Boissonnault said. In July, minister of natural resources Amarjeet Sohi announced more than $64,000 in federal funding for the Edmonton Heritage Festival.
Financial support for established organizations includes $600,000 for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, $75,900 for the Brian Webb Dance Company and $858,000 for the Fringe itself over the next five years.
“(The funding) will absolutely help us grow with the growing demand for access to our festival and for the support and infrastructure it takes to produce an event like this,” said Fringe Festival executive director Adam Mitchell on Saturday, noting how festival costs rise each year.
“This will make a big difference to us.”
First Nations peoples and Francophones in Alberta will also benefit from funding for traditional cultural performances in their communities.
Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta received $61,000, Enoch Cree Nation will receive $102,500 for its Pow Wow Celebration, and Regroupement Artistique Francophone de l’Alberta was granted $35,250 to support arts in 15 French-speaking communities in Alberta.
More than $2.5 million of the funding comes from the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, while the remaining is split between the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage and Canada Cultural Spaces Funds.
“All of our communities matter,” said Boissonnault, “(and) we all have stories to tell.”