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BC Government: Young people get training, mentorship to work in arts, culture

Press Release

More than 50 young people are getting on-the-job experience in the arts and culture sector, thanks to early career development grants delivered through the BC Arts Council.

“Training young and emerging arts administrators helps them be ready for rewarding careers in the arts,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Arts and culture jobs are essential to our creative economy and the vitality of our communities. That’s why our government is proud to support internships and mentorships through the BC Arts Council.”

As part of the early career development program, The Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver received a grant to create a 10-month internship with its assistant curator.

“The Early Career Development program helped The Polygon Gallery to establish a new curatorial assistant position,” said Helga Pakasaar, Audain chief curator. “Our intern is getting mentorship from the gallery’s curatorial and marketing staff to gain hands-on experience with photo, video and audio documentation, and related projects such as a new video portrait series. Having an intern is also an enormous benefit to the gallery, as they are helping produce digital content for our website, mobile app and social media platforms.”

Development opportunities like this support the BC Arts Council’s strategic priority of sustainability and creative development. In addition to the early career development grants, the BC Arts Council also awarded five scholarships, altogether worth $30,000. In total, the B.C. government is distributing more than $2.7 million through 147 grants in more than 30 communities in the latest round of funding administered by the council.

“Supporting the next generation of artists and cultural workers is essential,” said Susan Jackson, chair, BC Arts Council. “Having increased funding from the B.C. government means the council is able to support more development opportunities for young professionals in communities throughout B.C., so that the sector is sustainable well into the future.”

These grants are part of the B.C. government’s record level of funding to the BC Arts Council. Budget 2019 invested an additional $15 million over the next three years with BC Arts Council, bringing its annual budget to a record-high of $34 million in 2019-20. This is the B.C. government’s second significant investment in the BC Arts Council since 2018.

The BC Arts Council, an agency of the provincial government, allocates grant funding for arts and culture to help B.C. artists and cultural organizations flourish in more than 200 communities around the province.

Learn More:

For a full list of BC Arts Council Grant recipients, visit:

For more information about the BC Arts Council and to apply for grants, visit:

A backgrounder follows.


Facts about BC Arts Council grants

  • BC Arts Council grants are administered through a peer-review adjudication process.
  • Grant recipients represent a diverse group of artists and arts organizations, including Indigenous groups, scholarship students and community arts councils.
  • Grants in this latest round of funding were awarded under six programs:
    • Early Career Development: supporting early career practitioners to develop their practice through internship, cohort, residency and mentorship opportunities.
    • Scholarships: supporting B.C. residents with full-time arts training costs after they finish secondary school.
    • Media Art Awards: supporting independent professional media artists to create specific projects. Media arts are defined as works in film, video, audio/sound art and new media.
    • Strategic Opportunities: assisting B.C. arts and cultural organizations to undertake significant strategic projects to address artistic and organizational opportunities and challenges.
    • Professional Development: supporting opportunities for arts and culture professionals that require travel or to undertake specific learning activities to advance their practice or career.
    • Touring Initiatives: supporting touring activities outside the province that will lead to enhanced professional opportunities.


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