This year, VANL-CARFAC made five recommendations to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the up-coming 2014-15 budget:
The NLAC sees an increase in project grant applications every year. In 2013 there was $573,658 of funding awarded through the Professional Project Grants program, but the request for funds was $1,494,820. 425 Project Grant applications were submitted, and 37% of those were approved, but at dramatically lower grant amounts than those requested. Only 38% of funds requested were awarded, even though the quality of applications has been steadily increasing and the juries need to make hard funding choices between equally qualified candidates.
This means that 63% of the artists who applied for grants were unsuccessful, and the remaining 37% of successful applications being awarded funds that are far below the amounts they need to successfully complete their projects. The reality of the situation is that no one wins; even those whose applications are successful are forced to make serious compromises in order to complete their projects at all.
In terms of sustaining grants for arts organizations, in 2013 the NLAC supported 16 organizations for a total of $575,000 – which was $103,119 less than the amount requested. This situation places arts organizations in stringent fiscal situations, many of whom have no other source of sustaining funding available to them.
As the professionalism of the province’s artists continues to grow, and stronger applications are being submitted, it is becoming increasingly difficult for assessment juries to narrow down many deserving applicants to the few they are able to support, and as a result the small amount of funds are stretched beyond capacity, forcing artists to try and make their work with drastically reduced resources. This illustrates a sector that is a victim of its own success.
We strongly suggest that the provincial government increase the NLAC’s budget from $2.1 million to $4 million in order to increase the funds available for grant support to professional artists and arts organizations. This would show the artists of Newfoundland and Labrador that the government values their hard work and their direct and indirect contributions to our economy. It would enable more artists to continue to produce the work that enriches our community life, and our tourist industry.