Arts program for vulnerable Kamloops residents gets funding boost

New phase for arts program

Kamloops Art Council's Crossing Bridges program, which helps the city's vulnerable populations including people in crisis or in recovery, is getting a big funding boost from two different sources.

The program is receiving $25,000 from the BC Arts Council and $25,000 from the Leon and Thea Koerner Legacy Fund. In a press release, the local arts council states the money will be used in a variety of ways to help bring the arts to people overcoming addiction, homelessness, mental health issues and other barriers.

"The use of art within our cultures and everyday lives is important to keeping a balanced lifestyle and especially important during this time of pandemic when isolation and levels of stress and anxiety have increased," states KAC in a press release.

Many agencies the art council works with have struggled during the pandemic to connect with their clients.

"Not all agencies have adequate space and procedures in place to resume in-person art workshops safely, so finding new and innovative ways to connect with those in need and helping them to use arts as a creative release or distraction from their worries is now more important than ever," states the arts organization.

Some of the funding will go towards training people at the different agencies to work as artistic mentors to clients since artists with the Crossing Bridge program aren't able to be in person due to pandemic policies.

"The Crossing Bridges Outreach program is one of our key offerings of making arts accessible in our community. We believe it to be our cornerstone," says executive director Terri Hadwin in the release. "We know this program makes a difference in people's lives."

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