Creative City Centre Denied Funding

In our September Arts & Culture issue (scroll to bottom), we reported that Creative City Centre, the innovative arts incubator/fashion collective that opened on the top two floors of Loggie’s Shoes at 1843 Hamilton St. in May, had been denied operational funding by the Regina Arts Advisory Committee. The committee receives $800,000 annually, which it then dispenses to dozens of arts organizations to provide them with seed capital to do arts programming in the city.

Of that $800,000, we further reported, approximately two-thirds goes to three flagship entities — Globe Theatre, the Regina Symphony Orchestra and MacKenzie Art Gallery. That doesn’t leave a lot left over to support many other worthwhile arts organizations. In some instances, grants can be as small as $500. When one considers the extensive process that the groups have to go through to apply for the money each year, and then account for its expenditure,  the return can be pretty meagre.

In Creative City’s case, they had sought $30,000 to cover administrative costs and hire staff to supplement all the volunteer labour that had been put into the facility over the last few years to gut and renovate the upper two floors of Loggie’s (which had been vacant for decades), and then start to produce programming. According to figures provided by CCC, in its first seven months of operation it presented 39 concerts, 23 workshops, seven art exhibits, six film screenings, four poetry nights and two comedy/improv shows. Total attendance for the 81 events was 2859.

CCC’s original application was denied by the Advisory Committee because it failed to present a complete business plan. In its original disbursement of grants, the Committee kept $42,000 in reserve. CCC was subsequently allowed to appeal the Committee’s decision. It did so — submitting the required business plan, and making further presentations to the Committee about the value of the facility as a venue to foster arts activity and energize the downtown.

Another key facet of CCC is that founder Marian Donnelly (pictured above with benefactor Harold Hague) holds an MBA in arts administration, and she is keen on helping artists improve their prospects for financial success through the development of business skills. The fashion collective, which includes a retail outlet, and provides local designers with all sorts of opportunities to collaborate with each other, along with visual artists, musicians and other cultural workers who frequent the space, is a prime example of that entrepreneurial spirit.

Unfortunately, the obvious merits of the project weren’t enough to persuade the Arts Advisory Committee  to provide any funding to CCC. It seems that the hybrid nature of CCC was one stumbling block. In our society, we prefer arts activity to largely occur on a non-profit basis. But Donnelly doesn’t view profit as a bad word, which makes her organization an iffy candidate for public funding. Instead, at a key moment in CCC’s development, when it desperately needs resources to put on programming and market its facilities and services to the community, it will again be forced to operate on a largely volunteer basis.

In dispensing the remaining $42,000, the Arts Advisory Committee threw another $13,725 to the MacKenzie and $5000 to Globe Theatre. Those are worthwhile organizations, obviously, but in other centres flagship arts organizations like that are often funded as line items in civic budgets. Having them compete against much smaller and less influential arts groups for civic grants hardly makes for a level playing field.

The Arts Advisory Committee is meeting Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Larry Schneider Board Room on the main floor of City Hall. If anyone is interested in speaking on CCC’s behalf, all they have to do is sign in at the start of the meeting and you will have ten minutes to make a presentation.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

4 thoughts on “Creative City Centre Denied Funding”

  1. Complete and utter garbage. Marion works around the clock and needs paid staff. I can’t stress this enough. An enormous amount of labour and love (unpaid, volunteer!) has gone in to this place and made it something truly special. It’s completely beyond me why the city is handicapping such a strong and relevant initiative in the downtown.

  2. I can appreciate that there is only a 10 month “symphony season”, but do they need ,approximately $176,000,( their 1/3 ), / 24 Mainstage shows = $8400.00, +- a coupla bucks, per show? I’m sure they filla few seats just on their own merits . I’ve heard the band, they kick it .

    Just for fun, more hypothetical numbers.

    Ex; if the RSO alone gave up a mere $400/event to The CCC, that amounts to $9600.00.
    RSO would now get $166,400, about a 5% hit.

    If the other 2 dropped the same amount each, the amount is now $28,800. About $1200 whole dollars short of what was asked for!

    The “spare” 18+ grand, would have covered 58%ish of what was asked for!

    81 CCC shows.
    2859 fans.
    35 fans per show avg.

    Let’s guess 10 bucks a head cover / entrance fee.

    $350/a show x 81 shows = $28,350.

    But this just covers costs not any volunteer / hopefully employee wages, and expansion coin too.

    Do I see a similarity here?

    The CCC generate 28k at my guess, but you won’t help them with 18k?

    Gee RAAC where did you learn yer math ?

    Give them the money, employ some more people. 1 + FN 1

  3. This just breaks my heart. Marion works so hard trying to make the CCC a viably arts entity in heart of downtown, but they still snub her.

    Sometimes I wonder if Regina WANTS to be a cultural wasteland?

    ~F

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