Funding cuts for arts, non-profit groups

Alberta’s culture minister says arts and non-profit groups funded through gaming and government grants can expect up to a 20 per cent cut in money.

CALGARY — Alberta’s culture minister says arts and non-profit groups funded through gaming and government grants can expect up to a 20 per cent cut in money.

But Lindsay Blackett says the province won’t embark on deeply slashing cuts wielded by British Columbia that have shocked some.

Blackett says other departments in the Alberta government have also been asked to come up with budget adjustments.

He admits the cuts are not insignificant but says the province will “maintain our commitments.”

Blackett says part of the reason for the cuts is a 14 per cent decrease in video lottery terminal revenues.

Suzanne Mott, general manager for Calgary’s Vertigo Theatre, says it’s bad news for groups like hers that receive government funding.

“Our government grant represents eight per cent of our total revenues,” said Mott. “We don’t receive federal funding so provincial grants are even more important … it has a huge impact.”

Blackett said his ministry will discuss the issue with stakeholders before announcements are made over the next number of months.

“We’ll be more consultative about that,” said Blackett.

Cuts to provincial arts funding in B.C. have some groups there forecasting a 90 per cent decrease in grants in the coming years, sending them scrambling for alternate sources.