Through its Ministry of Communities, Culture and Heritage, the Nova Scotia government has announced $2.1 million in funding for arts and culture organizations across Nova Scotia.
What we are really hoping for now is that we can continue discussions with the Minister to work out what we can do for our industry that doesn’t stop there. It’s going to be a long-term plan and strategy to ensure we don’t all disappear before COVID disappears.” – Neptune Theatre artistic director Jeremy Webb.
The COVID-19 Emergency Support Program for Arts and Culture Organizations is a one-time, application-based program to help organizations who either receive Communities, Culture, and Heritage operating funding or who regularly receive project funding from the department. Criteria for funding will be based on need and year-over-year financials and projections.
Calling the sector an important economic and social contributor to communities across the province, Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft says in a media release that the support is designed to help organizations adapt and maintain operations during the pandemic.
In an email, Halifax’s The Bus Stop Theatre Cooperative executive director Sébastien Labelle says it is a welcome and long-awaited announcement. “I haven’t yet had a chance to take a close look at how it might translate for us, but anything helps during this period,” he says.
For Neptune Theatre’s Jeremy Webb, recent lobbying by him and others in the arts sector appears to have paid off.
“It’s fair to say that we were getting concerned that we had not heard anything from the province because we had been waiting to hear news of an aid package for five months at the time with met with the Minister in September,” says Webb.
Telling Webb and his counterparts from the other arts groups in attendance during a Zoom call with the Minister, she said she was “all ears and all heart.” And while Webb says the individual grants of up to $75,000 offered by the program are welcomed, he is hopeful the conversation will continue.
“What we are really hoping for now is that we can continue discussions with the Minister to work out what we can do for our industry that doesn’t stop there,” he says. “It’s going to be a long-term plan and strategy to ensure we don’t all disappear before COVID disappears.”
Financial assistance will be considered for plans that maintain the organization’s operations, adapt spaces to meet public health guidelines or generate activity under current public health guidelines. The amount of funding will be based on the organization’s annual budget and its plan for recovering from the effects of COVID-19, as well as the program’s available budget.
The deadline for application is December 7.