Assembly of BC Arts Councils announces new name, new mandate

The Assembly of BC Arts Councils, the apolitical advocate for arts groups in BC,  assists our local arts council  by providing modest funding for Arts and Culture Week events every year, and by hosting an annual conference for arts councils providing training in arts programming and organizational management. Today (March 17) the Assembly of BC Arts councils announced it is changing its name to Arts BC,  and in the process has expanded its mandate.  Here’s the Arts BC press release:

Advocacy, resources and community. These three words encompass a new mandate and a strengthened commitment from ArtsBC to support the arts and culture sector in British Columbia.

Building on its history as an apolitical advocate, the Assembly of BC Arts Councils has not only changed its name to ArtsBC, but has expanded its mandate to reach more cultural groups, individual artists, business associations and stakeholders with a vested interest in the health of arts and culture in BC, as well as the economic impact of the sector.

 “For more than 30 years, the Assembly has been a voice for cultural organizations, focusing on a membership driven by community arts councils around BC,” says Joan Richoz, President. “It was time for some introspection about our role, and after a thoughtful planning process, the future for the Assembly became clear. We need to reach out to everyone in the province who plays a role in arts and culture, and work together to build upon our collective strengths.”

Along with the new name — ArtsBC — comes a new brand, a new website with greater functionality, and the establishment of connections through social media channels. As well, membership will expand to include associate members such as business improvement associations, individuals and students, in addition to arts organizations.

“Our members have access to a number of benefits, but more importantly, will have the opportunity to connect with each other and collaborate,” says ArtsBC President, Joan Richoz.

A stronger direction for ArtsBC means focussing on core services, and the organization is committed to “ARC”: advocacy, resources and community. ArtsBC will continue to advocate on behalf of BC’s arts and cultural sector; its most recent advocacy efforts resulted in the Spirit Festivals Program, distributing more than $1 million to BC’s arts and cultural sector. Forty-nine Spirit Festivals were held around the province through February.

Resources are a key component of the reborn organization, and ArtsBC will provide education and training opportunities, as well collect and collate research and publications on behalf of and for its members.

Community building will take place virtually through new online channels, as well as in person at the annual conference, which takes place each spring. The 2011 conference is scheduled for April 29 to May 1 in Richmond, BC.

 “We recognize that the cultural sector in BC has had challenges, but with challenges comes opportunity,” says President, Joan Richoz. “ArtsBC is an opportunity for people and organizations across the province to come together in support of arts and culture.”

Visit their new website for information on resources and advocacy for arts councils, and community links:

Assembly Conference – Here We Come!

logoIt’s another road trip! The Oliver Community Arts Council is sending five delegates to the Assembly of BC Arts Councils 30th Anniversary Annual Conference in Kelowna on Friday May 1.  This conference always has excellent workshops on timely topics given by knowledgeable and helpful guest speakers. 

OCAC Treasurer Jack Bennest and Secretary Penelope Johnson are eager to glean some new programming ideas at “Programs and Projects from and for Small Arts Councils” on the Friday morning. “We deliver some  popular and fun programs, ” says Johnson, “but we can always do with a boost to our creativity.  We might find some innovative and cost-effective ideas to renew established programs or create new ones.”

Directors Brian Mapplebeck and Steve Staresina, together with Bennest, will take in An Intimate Dialogue with BC Arts Council . The BCAC, an arm of the provincial government, is a source of major funding for many arts councils. This session will provide delegates with valuable information to assist them in the preparation of a thorough application.  As guidelines change and funding sources become scarce, arts councils are hard pressed to make successful applications. The range of topics may include establishing partnerships and collaborations with community organizations, becoming more culturally diverse,  allocating surplus funds correctly,  applying for increasingly merit-based awards, and learning how to do critical self-reflection and succession planning. All three delegates to this workshop are involved in the various grant applications completed by the OCAC, and are sure to find these tools useful.

Culture, Creativity, Communications, Collaborations and Community attracted the attention of directors Jennifer Mapplebeck and Steve Staresina. This workshop is designed to provide guidance on how to launch and sustain a multiple-channel, multiple-stakeholder arts communication program. They will learn how such a program works, what skills and resources are required, what the components are and how they work together, and what outcomes are possible.

The OCAC is concerned about widening their contacts and services to include artistic groups from other cultures. With that in mind, Jennifer Mapplebeck and Penelope Johnson will attend Kwuksknkn’xtwixwa?x – “Working together with each other” . This workshop is a collaborative effort being undertaken by the First Peoples Heritage Culture Council’s Art Program and the En’owkin Centre. “Kwuksknkn’xtwixwa?x” will provide an opportunity to develop a broadened view of building constructive relations between the communities of the Assembly of BC Arts Councils and neighbouring stakeholders. Participants will work together to identify strengths, resources, and potential networks, and then brainstorm possible actions for building on those foundations in cooperative ways. This participatory workshop will include mapping cultural resources in the communities, and then generating an action plan inspired by those elements and forces

Brian Mapplebeck, who is also a member of the Oliver Sagebrushers, the local fine arts club (see our Member Groups section) is interested in attending Providing Community Visual Arts Services. The workshop focesses on how to make the visual arts thrive in a community. To provide the best services for a community and its artists requires that we understand the business of art as well as the creative process. Chris Tyrell, author of the new book, Artist Survival Skills: How to Make a Living in the Visual Arts, shares his insights in community visual arts programming best practices.

Johnson, Staresina and the Mapplebecks will all be attending the final workshop of the day: Cultural Tourism. Cultural tourism is a ‘hot’ topic these days, especially in the South Okanagan where the tourism industry is growing in leaps and bounds.  BC’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts is in the process of developing a Community Cultural Tourism Strategy. But can BC communities develop cultural tourism without degrading or devaluing the very culture they celebrate? And how can cultural tourism support the arts? This session will include an informational presentation, frank discussion, and workshop exercises to help define how tourism can be leveraged to support the arts in BC’s communities.

The five delegates will report on the conference at the next Arts Jam! meeting on Monday May 25th.  This gathering of the arts council membership is held every fourth Monday at 9:30 a.m. the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. Come out to the meeting, or watch for  the Arts Jam! broadcast, including the special presentation from the conference, on local Channel 18 TV . 

Assembly of BC Arts Councils Conference




Conference and AGM 2009



The 30th Annual Conference and General Meeting will be held on May 1 – 3  2009 at the Grand Okanagan Lakeside Resort, Kelowna, BC

The weekend will begin with an exploration of Kelowna’s Arts District and an evening Early Bird reception at the Centre Culturel Francais (French Cultural Centre) on Thursday, April 30, 2009.  Registration for the conference will begin Friday morning at the Grand Okanagan Lakeside Resort, followed by opening ceremonies. 

The workshops offered are listed below. For more details about workshop content and speaker bios, visit
Friday, May 1, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009