Gray: Where is symphony's support?

Does your community support the Okanagan Symphony?

If not, Kelowna Mayor, Walter Gray thinks they should.

During a discussion centered around professional arts operating grants, Gray wondered where the government support was coming from for a symphony he says was envisioned to be for the entire Okanagan Valley.

"In the current year both the Regional District of North Okanagan and the City of Penticton are providing a total of $19,000 in additional support," says Sandra Kochan, Kelowna's Cultural Services Manager.

"I am aware the organization continues to have conversations with other jurisdictions in the Okanagan. In some years there may be more communities contributing - it kind of ebbs and flows."

Monday, the City of Kelowna approved a Professional Arts Operating grant of $55,000 which Kochan says is about five per cent of the Okanagan Symphony's operating budget.

"That's progress," Gray commented responding to the news Penticton and NORD were providing funds.

"I suppose what bothers me most...where are the people from West Kelowna, where are the people from Lake Country, where are the people from Peachland. They are a half hour drive or less to get to a symphony concert."

Gray says he encourages the symphony to 'expand their support from local government' by going to more of them and getting a yes answer.

The city also approved a $25,000 operating grant for the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art run out of the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Kochan says a $30,000 grant request for Ballet Kelowna will come back to council within a few weeks.

She says while Ballet Kelowna's financial projects for the current fiscal year are positive, financial information for the 2014/2015 fiscal year need to be reviewed in order to provide funding recommendations.

Kochan expects that information to be available later this month.

Meantime, council also approved more than $150,000 in non-professional operating and project grants for arts, culture and heritage organizations.

These included $102,300 in operating grants disbursed among 15 organizations and $51,550 in project grants spread among 10 organizations.

Kochan says $175,000 was available for groups to apply for, the first time all funds available were not spoken for.

"The value of applications always exceeds the amount we have available but this year...we have $21,000 left unallocated," says Kochan.

"What we were able to identify was that on the operating side we did have fewer applications this year. Last year we had 22 applications and only 17 this year."

She says there were several new applicants in 2013, some of whom were declined. She says they did not re-apply this year.

There was also a decrease in applications on the project side from 13 a year ago to 10.

"However, of the 10 projects approved, seven of them received 100 per cent of their request. The remaining three received about 70 per cent."







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