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Children's fest gets two-year funding commitment

Federal grant money announced

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 01, 2014 06:00 am

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Representatives from the Northern Alberta International Children’s Festival were all smiles last Wednesday afternoon.

Conservative member of Parliament Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul) stopped by St. Albert’s cultural services department to announce that the department of Canadian Heritage was providing $190,000 in funding to the festival.

During his announcement, Storseth praised the arts by saying they are a solid investment in Canada. He noted the arts and culture sector has generated $49.9 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product and accounts for more than 630,000 jobs.

“It (arts and culture) helps the country, betters the community and makes St. Albert and northern Alberta a better place to live,” Storseth said.

The continued funding, a grant through the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, is not new. What is new is that the funding is over two fiscal years: $95,000 for 2014 and an equal amount for next year. In previous years, organizers were required to submit a new application for every fiscal year.

“I’m very excited about it. It really does provide a foundation for the festival and we can build a strong festival around that solid start,” said Northern Alberta Children’s Festival Society secretary Kathleen Bell.

Sandra Moloney, festival development co-coordinator added, “It generates confidence in what we do and that we are going to be around a long time and that we have support of the government.”

This year’s 33rd International Children’s Festival is scheduled to run from May 27 to 31. The budget for the festival generally clocks in at around $1.2 million.

Cultural services director Kelly Jerrott said the Canadian Heritage grant is earmarked for artist fees. Traditionally the festival showcases puppetry, music, theatre, dance, circus and film in addition to outreach workshops, crafts and visual arts.

Storseth also wanted to remind the community that Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations are in 2017. As in Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967, additional funding will be allocated to cities and communities across the country.

“I would like the communities to start talking about what kind of celebrations they want. As an example, Legal has a strong francophone following and St. Paul has a Métis history. We would like every community to think about how they would celebrate, and look into how to apply for different types of grants that will be available. We don’t want anybody to be caught off guard.”


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