I’m just going to toss this out for you – I’d say more, but I am so disappointed in the BC Liberals right now, and I really don’t want to get started on a full-0ut rant. Yes, these initiatives are great – for the long run – but WHERE are these young people going to work once they get their education? Oh that’s right, they’ll be working in other provinces and countries, because this government does not believe in seeking immediate solutions to help our creative industries compete on a level playing field in the here and now – but you can bet that if this were a natural resource sector crisis, the Liberals would be all over it like talc on a gymnast. With an election coming up, for the first time in decades, I may have to seriously reconsider the person and the party I choose to support. In what appears to be a slapstick attempt at feigning support for our creative sectors, the B.C. government announced earlier today that it is launching BC Creative Futures, a three-part strategy to support sustainable, long-term success for the province’s creative sector. But I digress….continue on for the government’s big plan…more smoke and mirrors to wow everyone and confuse the issues in hopes that come election day we don’t spoil their love-in.
According to Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett, BC Creative Futures supports the provincial economy by helping to foster a creative workforce through more arts opportunities for young British Columbians, by building a comprehensive, sector-wide vision to support the development and growth of B.C.’s creative industries and by expanding capacity at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
A spiffy PDF for you to read about the new program is available online.
Part One: Arts Engagement for Creativity – BC Arts Council
By encouraging young British Columbians to think creatively through greater engagement with the arts, BC Creative Futures will nurture emerging creative leaders and help develop a future workforce of collaborative, innovative thinkers. The BC Arts Council (BCAC), an independent agency supporting artists and cultural organizations throughout the province, and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development (MCSCD) will deliver a $6.25-million package of new and expanded existing programs to support the strategy, including:
- Creative Youth Initiatives – $2 million (BCAC)
- After School Sport and Arts Initiative – $1 million (MCSCD)
- Artists in Education Program – $1 million (BCAC)
- Co-op Placement Program – $1 million (BCAC)
- Scholarship Program – $750,000 (BCAC)
- Artists in the Classroom Program – $500,000 (BCAC)
BCAC’s $5.25-million share of the funding, plus additional financing from MCSCD, will increase council’s support from the B.C. government from $16.8 million in 2012-13 to a record level of $24 million in 2013-14.
“In British Columbia, we often celebrate our good fortune in being blessed with a wealth of abundant natural resources,” said Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett. “Today, our government is celebrating our most abundant, precious natural resource, the wealth of imagination and creativity of our citizens. We are blessed by internationally renowned artists and successful cultural organizations – as well as a range of dynamic creative industries, including strong digital media, television, film and video game production. This three-part strategy will provide a launching point for the continued growth and success of British Columbians and the creative economy they fuel.”
Part Two: Strategic Vision – Creative BC
Supported by the B.C. government, Creative BC will work with creative industries in the province to develop and implement a broad strategy capitalizing on the sector’s strengths and identifying new opportunities for the future. Creative BC will work with film and TV, digital media, music, publishing and other components of the creative economy.
MCSCD will provide $1 million to Creative BC for research, development and international marketing.
As an independent, non-profit society combining services previously available through separate agencies, Creative BC will engage government and the creative industries in a fresh partnership. Creative BC will begin operations in April 2013.
“Inspiration links art and creativity. The arts play a key role in inspiring and developing well-rounded people with capabilities and sensitivities essential for a future in the creative economy. The BC Arts Council is proud to play a strategic role in helping artists make their contributions to the creative communities of British Columbia,” said BC Arts Council chair Stan Hamilton.
Part Three: Support for Expansion at Emily Carr University of Art + Design
The B.C. government’s recent announcement to help build a new visual, media and design facility at Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s Great Northern Way Campus also supports the BC Creative Futures strategy for a strong creative economy in British Columbia.
Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology Minister John Yap stated that “As part of the BC Jobs Plan, our government is investing up to $113 million to support a new state-of-the-art facility at Emily Carr’s Great Northern Way Campus, which also supports the BC Creative Futures strategy, and will help build on our national and international reputation as a leader in media, creative arts and design.”
Further quotes were offered on the BC Government press site:
BC Producers’ Branch, Canadian Media Production Association chair Brian Hamilton – “Creative BC will build on existing government and industry partnerships in the creative sector. The adoption of this cross-sectoral approach will encourage growth by creating a climate for business development and sustainability. We look forward to working closely with our industry partners to maximize the potential of B.C.’s creative economy.”
BC Film + Media chair Michael Francis – “The creative industries need diversification of markets and new sources of investment. This is just as true in traditional publishing as computer animation. By centralizing the expertise in Creative BC, we are making ourselves more competitive. Step one is having good programs. Delivering those programs in a convenient cost-effective manner will drive continued industry growth.”
The BC Government’s Stat Facts:
- PricewaterhouseCoopers has forecasted global spending of $1.9 trillion in entertainment and media markets by 2015.
- British Columbia’s technology industry revenues grew from $12.1 billion to $18.9 billion between 2001 and 2009.
- British Columbia is well positioned to develop creative talent through post-secondary programs at Capilano University, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the BC Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s Centre for Digital Media.
- Since 2001, the B.C. government has provided more than $2.6 billion in support for arts and culture in British Columbia, including the screen-based entertainment industry.
- Supports 25,000+ quality jobs – well paying knowledge based, equity employment;
- The production industry contributed on average 1.1 billion dollars in production spending annually for the past decade – that is new money – to the BC economy over the past decade, not including ancillary spending and economic spin off to regional and municipal governments and to other sectors such as hospitality/tourism, and the multitude of small to medium-sized businesses that supply motion picture production in BC;
- The total contribution to the BC economy since the incentive program started is $14.3 billion;
- The total investment (tax credit) from the BC Government since the incentive program started is $1.5 billion, approximately 10%;
- According to the Income Taxation Branch the highest tax credit paid out to date 2011-2012 was $219 million;
- Over 1 billion dollars of private investment in industry infrastructure;
- 24 post secondary institutions offering internationally recognized industry education & training for the next generation of production professionals;
- Cornerstone of BC’s creative economy worth a combined $4 billion GDP (making it the fifth largest sectors in the province), representing 85,000 jobs (making it the second largest industrialized sector)*;
- The creative economy is growing at a faster rate than the economy as a whole*;
- Green conscious industry sector with a light footprint on the environment;
- Has created a high profile for British Columbia worldwide, widely benefitting the hospitality and tourism sector;
- BC’s production community is generous and supportive of local arts, education, youth and social causes. Examples: MPPIA annual giving to the Vancouver Food Bank, $10,000+ a year since 2007; more than 20 years of routine and holiday season outreach from across the industry on the downtown eastside; Habitat for Humanity; A Loving Spoonful, AIDS Vancouver to name only a few.
*Dreamcatcher: Towards a Creativity/Innovation Strategic Plan for British Columbia, Simon Fraser Professor Rowland Lorimer