HALIFAX: The provincial government announced it is providing $2.1 million to arts and culture organizations across the province.

“Arts and culture organizations and the artists and creators within them help to tell the story of who we are as Nova Scotians,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft. “The sector is an important economic and social contributor to communities across the province. This immediate support will help organizations adapt and maintain operations.”

The COVID-19 Emergency Support Program for Arts and Culture Organizations is a one-time, application-based program to help organizations who either receive Communities, Culture, and Heritage operating funding or who regularly receive project funding from the department. Criteria for funding will be based on need, and year-over-year financials and projections.

Financial assistance will be considered for plans that keep operations going, adapt spaces, and/or generate activity under the current public health guidelines. Organizations can apply online: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/emergency-support-for-arts-and-culture-organizations/.

The application deadline is December 7.

Last month, theatre companies across the province urged immediate and significant action to help stabilize their financial situations.

Andrea Boyd and Reema Fuller, with Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre said that without a clear and timely commitment for emergency support from the province, their company and theatre in Antigonish are in grave danger of never recovering .

The directors of various theatre companies explained that with the end of emergency funding, and no further assistance in sight, their prospects are grim.

Others explained that ticket revenue from reduced-capacity audiences cannot economically sustain the number of employees needed to produce a professional theatre production. Increased venue cleaning, installation of protective barriers and signage, and PPE costs for employees and patrons are additional financial burdens.

Specifically, they were requesting unrestricted funds and additional operating support, reasoning that COVID-19 related project funding alone will not stabilize their situation, nor provide the broad support all companies urgently need. The theatre directors said the eradication of earned revenues means that their organizations require an infusion of operating funding which is not restricted to new and additional initiatives.

The Government of Canada has offered measures to assist sport and museum sectors, but funding for culture was of limited benefit to many Nova Scotia arts and culture organizations which were not existing clients of Canada Council for the Arts and/or Canadian Heritage.

During the pandemic, the department has also offered other programs to support arts and culture organizations, including a digital stream through the Creative Industries Fund and a COVID-19 Response Grant through Arts Nova Scotia.