British Columbia Cultural Services Branch

British Columbia Cultural Services Branch. Established in 1975 as an agency of the provincial government operating under the Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services.

British Columbia Cultural Services Branch

British Columbia Cultural Services Branch. Established in 1975 as an agency of the provincial government operating under the Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services. Known at first as the British Columbia Cultural Program, it functioned 1975-6 under the auspices of the Dept of the Provincial Secretary, and 1976-8 within the Dept of Culture and Heritage in the Ministry of Recreation and Conservation. In 1988 the branch became part of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture. Its first director, Thomas G. Fielding, appointed in 1975, was succeeded in 1987 by Richard Brownsey. Among other duties the Cultural Services Branch administers the British Columbia Cultural Fund and acts as secretariat for the British Columbia Arts Board.

The British Columbia Cultural Fund was established 1 Apr 1967 as a perpetual endowment fund of $5 million (with $5 million increases in 1969, 1972, and 1974 bringing the fund to $20 million), from which the interest was to be used for cultural development within the province. In 1975 the fund began to be augmented with revenue from the provincial lottery. The fund was administered through the office of a provincial minister and grants were made with the assistance of a government-appointed advisory committee.

The British Columbia Arts Board, set up in 1974 to replace the advisory committee and representing all regions of the province, is a 15-member consultative body that advises the provincial government on the formulation of comprehensive arts policies for the province. Appointments to the board are made by the province and are for three-year terms. In 1989-90 the Cultural Services Branch grants budget was $11.8 million. In the field of music, grants were made to students (through a scholarship assistance program), to professional arts organizations (eg, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Kootenay Chamber Orchestra, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, etc), to training organizations (eg, Powell River Academy of Music, Courtenay Youth Music Centre, Vancouver Academy of Music, Victoria Conservatory of Music, Prince George Music School, etc), to special service organizations (eg, British Columbia Choral Federation, Festival Concert Society, etc), and to organizations for special projects (eg, Vancouver Society for Early Music, Vancouver Recital Society, Pacific Music Industry Association, Coastal Jazz and Blues Society). It has provided touring subsidies to assist in the presentation of musical events throughout the province, and has continued the annual grants to community arts councils, as well as assisting them through a Community Arts Projects program established in 1979. The projects program is open also to non-profit recreation commissions and community-oriented arts organizations. The Cultural Services Branch has supported national organizations or projects such as ACO, CCA, Canadian Music Centre, EMC, and NYO. It began to issue the quarterly bulletin Arts B.C. in 1975. A supplement, Interim News, was issued in 1979. The Cultural Services Branch also publishes outlines of its various programs, lists of grants, awards and subsidies, and an annual report.


Further Reading

  • Wyman, Max. 'British Columbia,' CMB, 9, 10, Autumn-Winter 1974, Spring-Summer 1975