Categories: Entertainment

Funding announcement pleases arts groups

Two St. Albert arts and culture groups and one Legal official languages organization have received another round of financial support from the federal government.

James Moore, minister of Canadian heritage and official languages, made the announcement on Wednesday in Edmonton at the Art Gallery of Alberta.

In an ongoing round of grants, the Harper government has provided slightly more that $4.5 million to 69 organizations in central and northern Alberta.

They include St. Albert’s Arden Theatre, the Northern Alberta International Children’s Festival and Legal’s ACFA RĂ©gionale de Centralta.

Moore, who presented an articulate, off-the-cuff speech, stated that the job of the government is to improve the quality of life for its citizens and by doing so create stronger communities.

On several occasions, he reiterated the importance of introducing children to the arts and added that any government, regardless of political persuasion, would be remiss in not providing support.

“The arts improve the quality of life. The arts build jobs. The arts drive up property values,” said Moore. “An investment in the arts is an investment in the economy. It builds a more intelligent, thoughtful and creative society.”

Canadian Heritage is distributing the funding through six programs. Both the Arden Theatre and the International Children’s Festival have received multi-year grants through the Canadian Arts Presentation Fund.

The Arden receives $170,000 over the next two years while children’s festival is guaranteed $190,000 during that same time period. It is a grant that provides monies strictly for artist fees and costs.

This is the first time the two organizations have received a multi-year grant.

“It provides stability when we know we have funding in place,” said Nancy Abrahamson, executive director of the children’s festival. “We can continue the wonderful programs we do and it helps in getting sponsorship. When sponsors see the government is supporting us it sends a great message. It’s easier to get commitment.”

Legal’s ACFA RĂ©gionale de Centralta, under the development of the Official-Language Communities program, receives $58,000 for the 2012-13 year.

“We’re satisfied. We could use more, but we understand it’s tough economic times and we budgeted for it,” says president David Frechette.

The funding will pay for the salary of one employee to keep its Legal office operational with about 20 programs running throughout the year.

The diverse programs range from a Halloween festival and assisting francophone or French immersion schools to finance artists in residence to participating in the Snowflake Festival and setting up a hockey camp at Servus Place.

Other area organizations to receive funding included the Winspear Centre, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, The Canoe Theatre Festival, the Works Arts and Design Festival, and the Blueberry Bluegrass & Country Music Festival.

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.