Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford was recognized as the Business Leader of the Year in the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards for 2020. Crawford was recognized for his work in supporting and bringing art into the community. “We had 15,000 visitors over 71 days,” Crawford said on the Bob Ross exhibit displayed at the gallery earlier this year. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford was recognized as the Business Leader of the Year in the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards for 2020. Crawford was recognized for his work in supporting and bringing art into the community. “We had 15,000 visitors over 71 days,” Crawford said on the Bob Ross exhibit displayed at the gallery earlier this year. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Ignite the Arts Festival gets Penticton council’s blessing and funding

Ignite the Arts Festival will be a nine-day event in late March 2022

The Penticton Art Gallery is set to get a major boost in 2022 from the city, both in grant funding and with a big new event.

Council gave their unanimous approval during budget deliberations on Nov. 23 to include an additional $33,000 in funding to launch a new Ignite the Arts Festival to take place in 2022. This grant funding is separate from the main grant that supports the gallery’s day-to-day operations.

That festival, set to take place in late-March to early-April would feature nine days of celebration of the arts in collaboration with other businesses in the community.

It would include mini-murals with the Cannery, community art talks and workshops, entertainment, collaboration with the Cleland and Tempest Theatres and the Dream Cafe.

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Councilors were thrilled with the proposal, especially the fact that it was modeled after another successful festival ArtsWells Festival in Barkerville and that it would be organized by the same operator.

“I think this is what we’re always looking for,” said Coun. Judy Sentes. “I have always supported the fact that Penticton is the city of festivals, and when you bring forward another opportunity of one that has longevity, let’s help it get off the ground. It’s nine days, that’s remarkable.”

Other members of the council echoed the benefits of the festival, including filling a gap on the calendar, as well as the need to support the local arts community.

“Watching this start from the vision of Paul Crawford, in every community you get people who have good visions of things that can really be positive in the community,” said coun. Frank Regehr, who is also the council liaison to the gallery. “Even though this is a bit generous to get this festival started, the significance of what it could become, and with the vision of somebody like Mr. Crawford, should become very positive for our community.”

The gallery had requested $25,000 for the festival, and $175,000 in grant funding for day-to-day operations and $16,300 worth of in-kind funding between the two requests.

The festival’s ask was too much for Couns. Katie Robinson and Campbell Watt, who voted against granting the full request. Robinson was willing to support the city’s recommendation of $10,000 in cash funding for the festival with $4,000 of in-kind funding.

City staff had recommended $86,000 in grant funding for the day-to-day operations, with councillors proposing and voting instead to up the grant funding to $125,000.

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