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Province denies grant to Victoria Fringe, angers manager

The general manager of the Victoria theatre company that produces the city's Fringe Festival said he was not surprised to be denied a provincial government gaming grant, but was offended by how it was done.

“I was taken aback and angry about the way they worded it,” said Intrepid Theatre's Ian Case, speaking a day after receiving official notice from the government.

“Fairs and festivals that do not reflect the community, regional or cultural characteristics of a community are ineligible for a grant,” the government's letter said. “Your programs do not appear to fit within these criteria.”

It's ludicrous for the government to suggest Intrepid's programs don't reflect the community's characteristics, said Case. “That displays a stunning ignorance of what we do in our community and what we bring to our community.”

Intrepid had applied for a $42,500 grant, he said. Other arts and culture groups are getting similar letters denying them funding, he said.

“If the government has decided they don't want to fund the arts anymore, as seems to be the case, they should be upfront about that,” he said.

The government is also planning cuts to the B.C. Arts Council, which Case said will remove the province almost entirely from funding the arts. He worries the federal government may also reduce arts and culture grants to B.C., choosing instead to send the money to provinces with governments that show they value the arts, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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