Join us for a grant-writing workshop

Kimberly Olson: Peace Prevails

Do you have an idea for a project that focuses on arts and culture? Grants from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (CKCA) could help.

These grants—funded by Columbia Basin Trust and overseen by the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council—are available for all art disciplines, for both individuals and arts and culture organizations in the Columbia Basin.

To learn more about these grants and how to apply, attend one of our FREE grant-writing workshops.

The first available session will include an explanation of all CKCA programs, plus a short period for questions and answers:

The subsequent events are primarily for questions and discussion. Before the event, we’ll send you the link to a video about the programs; we ask you to watch this before you attend the session, as this information will only be covered briefly. Then come to the session with your questions. The sessions all take place online through Zoom, at noon Pacific / 1 p.m. Mountain.

If you have questions about your specific project, rather than the programs themselves, contact us directly instead of asking them during a session.

The upcoming application period for CKCA grants opens January 16, 2023, with deadlines on March 3 or 10, 2023, depending on the program. So get ready now: register for a grant-writing workshop!

Workshops galore!

You spoke—and we listened.

Earlier in fall 2022, we asked arts and culture practitioners in the region what help they need when it comes to having strong arts practices. The result is a series of free online workshops that will help you effectively showcase your creative work and build a more sustainable practice.

Know your worth: pricing your artistic work

From ticket prices at the box office to festival presentation fees, it can be hard to know how the value of your work stacks up against similar offerings in the cultural marketplace. FINISHED. RECORDING COMING SOON!

Moving online: tips and tricks for a successful digital event

Between safety concerns, regional accessibility and the ease of incorporating multimedia, there are plenty of reasons to consider transitioning your next event to an online format. FINISHED. RECORDING COMING SOON!

Paper trails: an introduction to contracts and invoicing

While it can be intimidating to ask your artistic collaborators to sign onto a contract, it’s a critical tool to ensure that deliverables, timelines and payment terms are clearly outlined and agreed to at the start of your next project. FINISHED. RECORDING COMING SOON!

Building your digital toolbox for LGBTQ2S+ artists

Join Heidi Nagtegaal and Jenny Lee Craig for a conversation about the top online tools that can help your artistic business flourish. This workshop will cover setting up successful social media channels, strategies for audience engagement and managing your digital to-do list. NEW DATE COMING SOON.

Alternative revenue streams for LGBTQ2S+ artists

We tend to tie-up creative success with financial success, but even the most accomplished artists generate income from multiple sources. Hear from LGBTQ2S+ artists who are using tools like Patreon to reach audiences and customers in new ways, and creative makers who manage portfolio careers composed of teaching, activism, content creation and more! FINISHED. RECORDING COMING SOON!

From our Executive Director: Please hold your conference in person

Embodied connections are worth the added logistical challenges

Carla Stephenson of RAIL (Rural Arts Inclusion Lab) leads Arts BC attendees in an opening exercise.

I’ve planned my fair share of conferences; I know how stressful it can be to plan for unknowns at the best of times, let alone in this very messy phase of the pandemic. I’ve also had the pleasure of attending some very well-organized and rewarding fully digital conferences (shout-out to Magazines Canada for their last MagNet event), but I’ve just returned from the Arts BC conference in Richmond, BC, with a renewed sense of the value of in-person events.

I believe it was Elliot Hearte, Arts BC’s Director of Programs and Services, who called hosting an in-person event right now “courageous.” The requisite level of flexibility and adaption is higher than ever, yet so are the rewards. Here are three things I took away from this past weekend that could only have come from convening together in shared space.

Chance Encounters Allow You to Discover Unexpected Affinities and Shared Goals

I went into this conference wearing the hat of a regional arts funder in the Interior of BC, yet I came out having unearthed so many other layers of my connection to the arts in this province. As a dancer and former dance scholar, I was thrilled to speak with at least four individuals who are passionate about building audiences and programming for dance in diverse and rural regions. A professional dancer / choreographer and I connected about our shared love of dance research and the way that embodied practices help us to understand the world.

These ad-hoc conversations — squeezed into the gaps between formal sessions or in the lineup to grab lunch — even with colleagues who I speak with frequently by email or Zoom, have helped me to perceive my network differently. These individuals no longer exist in an abstract mental map of the sector and industry I work in; they are creative, unique and trusted colleagues that now form an embodied web of relation to one another.

Bearing Witness to Injustice is Harder and More Vital in a Live Forum

The entire nonprofit sector, including those of us in the arts, are reckoning with the roles that our organizations have in furthering racial equity, Indigenous reconciliation, and increased accessibility for a number of equity-deserving communities. Simultaneously, vital conversations about rebalancing funding to equity-led organizations, responsible community engagement and consultation, and doing the hard work of embedding principles of equity in every level of operational processes, have been mediated by a screen. It’s been all too easy to quickly check our inbox while completing digital EDI coursework or review organizational policies off the side of our desks amidst more “urgent” tasks.

Holding space in a literal way, by devoting plenary time and attention to these conversations, forces conference-goers out of the emotional stasis that can come with confronting difficult truths in social media snippets or a fleeting board meeting agenda item. During Future Visions: Considering a “Decolonized” Sector, panelists Cathi Charles Wherry, Senaqwila Wyss, Chase Gray, and Eli Hirtle (moderator), spoke generously about their experiences as Indigenous artists and cultural producers encountering friction with Euro-centric art institutions and envisioning new models for the sector. Unusually, the panel was structured with no option for questions from the audience. By removing the opportunity for audience members to center the conversation around their own experience or organizations, forcing us to simply listen and observe in a distraction-free space, remarkable potential for learning and reflection was opened up. This simple format change allowed for focused, contextual and solutions-driven conversation.

We Desperately Need to Connect and Process the Past Two (Plus) Years

There’s the painfully obvious shared experience of the past few years, but alongside the global pandemic were more localized challenges. In BC, specifically, arts organizations who had barely begun to find their footing after forced closures and delays found themselves altering operations yet again due to forest fires or flooding (or both). I appreciated the facilitation style of Nate Gerber from Voice of Purpose. Leading the session Becoming the New Imprint: Community Arts as an Incubator for the Future, he gently nudged us to acknowledge the weight of our organizational challenges over the past two years, while celebrating our resilience and adaptations to continue serving our communities.

Can you imagine casually ending an email to a colleague with: “Hey, how are you feeling after losing all sense of stability and having every assumption about your work, organization, and community needs turned on its head”? Probably not. Gathered together in one room, seated in a circle, felt like a safe and productive space to unearth not only the challenges we’ve faced recently, but also the areas of growth and learning that came out of them. Sidenote: I loved the prompt to consider what kind of “relationship event” may have emerged within the past two years. How did our organizations find themselves relating differently to our audiences or communities in the midst of major constraints? I’ll be mulling over that question as my organization enters a strategic planning process next weekend.

A necessary caveat to everything above is that ensuring alternate modes of participation where possible is also of utmost importance at this moment. If you have the capacity to successfully pull off a hybrid event, or to offer conference presentations online asynchronously after the event, please do! Due to the cost of travel, caretaking requirements at home, and ongoing health concerns (both pandemic-related and otherwise), there will always be barriers to people within your network and within your organization’s mandate to serve.

That said, every added mode of participation requires additional costs and systems of support; I applaud Arts BC for their acknowledgement that they didn’t have the resources to do hybrid well, so they are looking instead at ways to provide select conference materials digitally in the weeks to come. I may just revisit some of that material again once it’s released online, but I am so grateful that I took the time to travel and convene in-person too.

Kallee Lins is the Executive Director of the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council.

Become a member now!

Image: Undercurrents, Ruth Bieber

You love arts, culture and heritage—and we do, too. So please, become a member now!
Your dues to the West Kootenay Arts Council help us support this sector throughout the Columbia Basin. This includes valuable resources like:

  • ARTiculate magazine
  • Kootenay Arts E-bulletin
  • Kootenay Festivals and Events brochure
  • Workshops and other professional development opportunities for local artists.

Plus, you’ll be helping us administer the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance granting programs, funded by Columbia Basin Trust, which provide direct financial support to artists and arts organizations in our region.
As a member, you can also have your say at our upcoming Annual General Meeting, taking place virtually on October 28, 2022.
It’s a great contribution to arts, culture and heritage in the region, so don’t delay!

New batch of arts and culture projects to fascinate and inspire

It’s what enlivens building exteriors, theatre stages and living room walls. It’s what we read, listen to and ponder. Arts and culture adds vibrancy to people’s lives, entire communities and the region as a whole.

Now, 147 new arts and culture projects are receiving more than $562,000 in funding from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (CKCA) in 2022/23. The CKCA is a project of the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council and distributes funding on behalf of Columbia Basin Trust. See all the projects here.

Image credit: ArtStarts

One of the recipients is ArtStarts in Schools. It is piloting a new residency program that will see each participating school host an Artist in Residence. ArtStarts acts as the intermediary for logistics and funding, allowing the schools and artists to focus on curriculum and collaboration.

“We have taken feedback from our community and the changes brought by the pandemic as an opportunity to reimagine our programs and how they can better support young people, artists and schools in the Columbia Basin” said Lily Cryan, Program Manager, Grants. “By reducing the work for schools and artists to start their projects together, the residency creates a streamlined process to bring artists into schools for in-depth, hands-on learning experiences with students. It also helps provide more stable employment for artists.”

Image credit: Masa Suzuki

Another recipient is Nelson-based dancer, choreographer and actor Hiromoto Ida. He will create, produce and perform an original contemporary dance theatre work, alongside local artists. The piece will be based on contemporary Japanese theatre artist Shogo Ota’s play SARACHI (Empty Lot).

“I find that sometimes contemporary dance is too abstract, but when I use a story line as the foundation, I believe the piece is more accessible to wider audiences,” said Ida. “I would like to give the audience an exciting new theatre experience they have never seen before. As well, I want to keep proving that good-quality performing arts can be created and seen in rural small towns.”

CKCA funding is available to both individuals and arts and culture organizations. All arts disciplines are eligible (including visual art, theatre, music, dance, media, literary and inter-arts), as are cultural projects like traditional cultural practices and preserving languages. Separate granting streams target different focuses, such as individual and group projects, master classes, touring and major exhibition projects. Overall, the goal is to help build long-term sustainability for artists and to strengthen and support arts and culture organizations.

Each granting stream has one deadline per year. Next year’s information will be available in early January 2023.

Learn more here.

Stephanie Fischer, Chair, CKCA
“For many years I have been impressed by the scope of projects for which applicants seek funding, and those which were funded by the CKCA. We are very fortunate that we have a thriving arts sector with so many professional artists in our rural areas who create work for all to enjoy. The support for Basin non-profit organizations is also important, because they exist to exhibit art works, safeguard archives, put performers on stage, and employ artists to engage people of all ages and abilities in exploring their creativity. The CKCA Steering Committee members are excited to see the projects from diverse artists and organizations who successfully bring their efforts to fruition. We are also very pleased to continue our relationship with Columbia Basin Trust which, by fostering the arts, significantly contributes to livable communities across the region.”

Justine Cohen, Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust
“Thank you once again to all the artists and organizations that are working to fulfill individual goals while helping create dynamic communities and celebrate life in the Columbia Basin. Projects like these boost the joy, meaning and attraction of living and visiting here, positively affecting personal, community and economic well-being.”

Join us at our AGM

Artist: Jaymie Johnson

How have we supported arts, culture and heritage over the past year?

We’re excited to explore this answer with you at the annual general meeting of the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council, taking place online through Zoom from 12 to 1 p.m. Pacific / 1 to 2 p.m. Mountain on Friday, October 28, 2022.

Join us to hear what we’ve been up to, along with the key takeaways from our current strategic planning process. Members and non-members are welcome (see details below). Better yet, if you’re a non-member, become a member now! 

Additionally, the AGM is a great venue to share your own efforts, voice your needs and seek advice on issues your organization may be facing. Plus, you’ll connect with other arts-focused people and organizations across the region to hear what they’re doing, learn from one another and exchange information and resources.

RSVP by email to [email protected] by Wednesday, October 26, 2022.

Welcome to our new look!

We’re excited to introduce our modern, well-thought-out, cohesive website, logo and newsletter. These now better reflect who we are and how we serve the arts and culture sector in the region.

  • You’ll notice streamlined navigation of this site, so you can more easily find the information you need. Here are some highlights:
  • Our logo now better ties to the updated logo of the CKCA, since delivering its programs (with funding provided by Columbia Basin Trust) is a large part of our mandate.
  • We recently consolidated our Facebook and Instagram presence, so they’ve become one-stop spots for updates.
  • We launched a more thorough, well-thought-out newsletter in November. If you’re not already on the email list, sign up for it here!

Also, please support our work within the region by becoming a member or providing a donation.

We look forward to continuing to serve you!