Despite a challenging economic environment and budget constraints, the Halifax Regional Municipality’s commitment to support the efforts of local volunteers and the non-profit sector remains firm with Council’s approval last evening of 73 grants to non-profit groups throughout the region for a total investment of $464,948.
Notable among this year’s grant recipients were community art projects with a focus on the inclusion of persons with a disability, youth and young adults. Grants recipients include:
● The Veith Street Gallery Studio Association ($1,900);
● The Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society’s Painted Theatre Puppet Project ($2,000);
● An outdoor mural painted by children from St. George’s Youthnet ($1,500);
● Mobile screen printing equipment for the Ink Storm Screen Printing Society ($1,200);
● And, an innovative outdoor public art project featuring natural and recycled materials commissioned by the Ecology Action Centre ($5,000).
The region’s strong tradition of choral music is recognized with grants to Nova Voce Male Choral Society ($3,475) and the Halifax Camerata Singers ($5,000), while contemporary vocal music takes centre stage with Vocalypse Productions Society’s ($3,000) Trudeau: Long March/Shining Path, an opera created by Canadian poet George Elliott Clark and featuring "sculptural art wear" by local artist Arianne Pollett-Brannen.
“HRM serves an important niche in arts funding, given that federal and provincial funding give priority to professional production and presentation,” said Grants Committee Chair, Councillor Russell Walker. “HRM’s Community Grants Program is different in that we give equal status to amateur, non-professional, art projects that would not otherwise be considered for public funding.”.
Public participation was also a feature of several community history projects including:
● Cole Harbour Parks & Trails Association’s archaeological exploration of the former Halifax County Poor Farm which attracts residents of all ages to an annual ‘public dig’ ($1,500):
● A heritage audit by Friends of Schmidtville to secure recognition as a Heritage Conservation District and protect one of Halifax’s oldest residential neighbourhoods dating from the late 1700's ($1,000):
● Restoration of the Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel (c.1843), a gothic wooden structure built in one day by ~1,800 volunteers, undertaken by the Holy Cross Cemetery Trust ($25,000)
● Conservation efforts in the Old Burying Grounds (c.1749), a National Historic Site operated under the stewardship of the Old Burying Grounds Foundation ($15,000).
● North Preston’s oldest non-denominational cemetery will also receive assistance through the Downey Road Cemetery Society ($6,725) intended to leverage registered heritage status.
Rural and suburban non-profit groups again featured prominently in the Recreation & Leisure sector with grants to an array of local sports clubs and community halls including Hubbards, Seaforth, Sheet Harbour, Musquodoboit, and the Sackville area.
“Small communities and villages whose populations are too small to support a public facility often rely on non-profit groups for their community meeting space, sports fields, parks, and playgrounds,” Walker said. “We all benefit from access to lakefront and coastal properties owned by these volunteer groups.”