Wednesday, 08 May 2013 15:59

artsVest offers important opportunities to local cultural organizations

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The two-year pilot of the artsVest Saskatchewan program is winding down, and local cultural organizers are hoping that the program will continue into the future. artsVest Saskatchewan is a sponsorship training and matching incentive program, designed to assist Saskatchewan’s small and medium-sized arts organizations in the development of new and mutually beneficial partnerships with local businesses.



“It is a pretty fantastic program,” explained Gwen Uher with the Southwest Cultural Development Group. “Businesses in Swift Current were very receptive. They are always good to the Lyric, but they really appreciated that their hard-earned money was being matched by this organization. It really made a difference for us, and gave us a great incentive to go out and do that work finding sponsorship.”


Created by Business for the Arts and delivered in Saskatchewan with funding from Canadian Heritage and the Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, and with support from SaskCulture Inc, the money contributed by artsVest flows entirely as matching incentive grants to the local cultural organizations who successfully secure sponsorships with the business community.


“It's adding money into our pockets that we wouldn't have had otherwise,” noted Shann Gowan, Cultural Festivals Coordinator. “We are already doing that fundraising and working with our corporate clients to get sponsorship, that this really just maximizes the work that we've been doing. And it was a great incentive for our sponsors – they are always generous, but I didn't have a single sponsor say no.”


The organization matches sponsorship at different levels, providing extra funding for donations from businesses who agree to three year commitments. They also offer funding for in-kind donations, matching 50% of the value of the in-kind donation.


“That definitely helped us secure more three year commitments, which is really nice for us because it helps us in planning for the future,” Uher said. “And to be able to leverage in-kind donations to get more money was an incredible opportunity.”


This year, Southwest Cultural Development Group is anticipating more than $17,000 from artsVest, and Cultural Festivals is expecting over $30,000. These amounts make a huge difference in the consistency and quality of the cultural events and activities that go on here in Swift Current.


“I really think this program has been great for all of us in the arts community,” Gowan added. “I'm hoping that the Saskatchewan government sees the value in the program, and continues to match donations and offer that incentive for us. It's made a huge difference for all of us who took part in the pilot program.”

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Jessi Gowan


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