In 2009 in a remarkable initiative, the vast Cariboo Regional District became the first rural BC Regional District to develop an arts and culture function, passing a bylaw allocating tax revenue to arts and culture. The Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society was formed in 2010 as a BC registered non-profit society, with a mandate not only to administer this function, but also to serve the many existing independent cultural organizations and events and to facilitate the development of arts and culture in the central part of the region. We take seriously the notion of assisting the development of the arts—not simply supporting the status quo—and one important means of doing that is our administration of an annual small project grants program which in three years has seen a number of innovative ideas bear fruit. We oversee the annual Performances in the Park concert series, and we have recently developed the Central Cariboo Art Route, a year-round, self-guided studio tour of the region.
In a related initiative the City of Williams Lake, together with the Regional District redeveloped its old fire hall to become the Central Cariboo Arts Centre in the city’s downtown. We manage this facility which provides studio space to three tenant groups (Williams Lake Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists’ Guild, the Cariboo Potters’ Guild and the Cariboo Art Society), as well as performance and meeting spaces for the broader arts community. Building use has increased markedly since its opening and we now host a rich variety of activities and events and are delighted to see frequent “drop-ins” from passersby.
We aim effectively to administer an important function of local government and to serve the cultural enrichment of the region.
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