“A really, really great gift” City Hall moving to allow 2020 culture grant recipients to carry it over

City also easing application process for 2021

The City of Barrie has given the tentative nod to allowing those organizations that received a culture grant in 2020 to carry over those funds despite not being able to deliver on promised programming.

The initial approval was given Monday to allow all 2020 Culture Grants Program recipients to retain their funding and be permitted to reallocate it in support of sustaining their operations and COVID-19 recovery efforts. Recipients will be expected to report back on how their respective grants were used. The 2021 grant application process was also augmented to make it easier for struggling organizations to apply.

Music Project grants

“I think it’s a really important step. Obviously, this has been devastating year for Barrie’s performing arts community across the board,” Iain Moggach, Artistic Director for Theatre by the Bay told Barrie 360. “So I think the fact that the city of Barrie is taking steps to protect us, to to ensure that we can survive, and evolve, and adapt going forward is a really, really great gift.”

On whether that money would be better spent aiding the city as a whole in recovering from COVID-19, Moggach points out the city’s contributions to the culture sector are minimal. “It’s not a massive expense in terms of the city’s full operations. But it is extremely meaningful to us.” He pointed to a recent report filed at City Hall that indicates culture organizations receiving grants have lost more than $1 million in total revenue this year.

Theatre By the Bay received $29,000 in operating and project grants for 2020. It was among 16 organizations that received a total of $503,150 in funding. The lion’s share of 2020 grant funding went to the MacLaren Art Centre, at $138,000.

“I think the fact that municipalities are stepping up and saying ‘the arts and culture are really an important part of what makes our community great.’ It’s a fantastic thing to see,” concluded Moggach.

The motion to allow this carry-over passed on consent at the Monday night meeting, and is expected to receive final approval at the next meeting of council.