The Prince George & District Community Arts Council got some good news recently.
Based on artistic excellence, the local council ranked fourth out of 86 arts councils in the province.
The ranking is based on artistic achievement, community engagement, and organizational capacity. The BC Arts Council commended the wide range of local programs and diverse cultural inclusion.
With the new ranking comes the full amount of funding available from the BC Arts Council for $21,200, compared to last year's $17,500.
"The Community Arts Council has blossomed into a fantastic support in the community and it's reciprocal and our artists are absolutely thrilled," said Wendy Young, executive director of the council. "The Community Arts Council is an integral component of the socioeconomic fabric of the community. If you're moving to a new location for a job, the first thing you're going to do is go on the internet and search what there is to do in that city. You see if there's a movie theatre, live theatre, a symphony, an art gallery and all those things that people consider part of the arts. That's what's going to determine whether a person will accept the job or not. So we're a draw for the community."
An example of the local programs that helped achieve the fourth place ranking in the province is an arts and health initiative that has been built into the council's programming. The latest addition to the program is called Art for Youth for the Health of It, which is geared for School District 57 students who are in a lower income family bracket. The program takes place for two months during lunch hours at Spruceland elementary, which is considered an inner-city school. Students are encouraged to express themselves positively through art, explained Young.
"We've got artists working with counselors and teachers to make sure all supports are in place, including an external social worker who works with students who have been flagged for potential issues. So we've got all the safety nets in place and everyone will be working on projects that are helpful and supportive."
At the end of the program there will be a gala held at the school for everyone to see what the students have been working on, Young said, including Children First staff, which is the funding body of the project.
"I am thrilled with the ranking of fourth in the province," said Young. "One of the comments from the BC Arts Council is that we need more core-funding support to continue to grow as a relevant part of the Prince George community and through grant writing I am seeking out more federal and provincial support."