In July 2004, the City of Richmond passed the Richmond Arts Strategy that included a recommendation to improve communication between arts groups and strengthen the arts community as a whole. In January 2005, Gateway Theatre brought together renters using the facility to talk about what they would like in an ideal facility for Richmond. A Board, mission and mandate were formed. The Richmond Arts Coalition (RAC) formally became a Society in August 2005 with a membership of artists, arts organizations and patrons of the arts.
The Board focused on developing the membership and acquiring sponsorships to realize its goals. Gateway Theatre came on board as the administrative sponsor, Innovation Networks as the IT sponsor, and Richmond Review as media sponsor. In 2006, RAC received endorsement from the City of Richmond Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee and the Spirit of BC Committee and formed partnerships to complete a Cultural Scan Map and Economic Impact Report for Richmond.
A new membership brochure was created in 2007 to reflect founding membership status. RAC also took over database management from Gateway Theatre and began to send out e-blasts with information on upcoming events. RAC also invited VANOC to make a presentation to Richmond artists and arts organizations regarding the cultural Olympiad. A further presentation of funding opportunities leading up to the 2010 Olympics was made on April 1st, 2008.
At the 2007 AGM, the membership confirmed RAC’s need to be an advocacy organization and thus, RAC is unable to receive charitable status. However the society retains its not-for-profit status.
RAC launched its website in 2008 thanks to the support of Innovation Networks.
In 2013, RAC established an Endowment Fund with the Richmond Community Foundation. When RAC grows this endowment to a suitable size, the proceeds from this fund will supply monetary awards at the Richmond Arts Awards.
Also in 2013, RAC was successful in gaining a City of Richmond project grant to complete an outreach project with the community. RAC gained a higher profile in the community through this project and received very relevant results from surveys of artists, arts organizations and the general public about the state of the arts in Richmond. RAC was re-branded with a new logo and updated website set to launch in 2014. In 2014, RAC received another City of Richmond project grant and contracted someone to research creative ideas for businesses and the arts to work together.
In 2015, RAC was invited by the Richmond Art Gallery to organize and host a month-long juried exhibition of local artists. ArtRich 2015 was hugely successful, with over 200 people at the opening reception and over 1,600 visitors to the gallery over the month. It also enhanced RAC’s profile in the community.
RAC Accomplishments to date
- Maintains a website listing member artists and organizations plus useful information for artists and the public
- Runs a weekly Member Feature on the website and in social media, highlighting members on a rotating basis
- Maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts
- Maintains a roster of emails (members and people who have indicated an interest) and uses it to send out regular e-blasts containing information of interest regarding the arts
- Compiles a monthly list of arts events and provides it to the local newspaper, to Tourism Richmond, posts it on our website and social media, and sends it out in our e-blast
- Co-produces the annual Richmond Arts Awards with the City. Provides a representative to sit on the awards committee. Encourages nominations for these awards.
- Participated in the 2012 Richmond Arts Strategy Update Steering Committee
- Stimulates projects and encourages artists and organizations to apply for City Arts & Culture grants
- Distributes questions about arts issues to City Council, provincial and federal election candidates and publicizes the results
- Speaks regularly with Richmond’s City, provincial and federal representatives
- Advocates on arts issues within the City
- Advocates for opportunities for artists and cultural groups to participate in major events in the City
- Advocates for extra spaces in the City to enable performance, rehearsal, education, creation, and exhibition activities
- Annually applies for Canadian Heritage funding to hire artists for Maritime Festival. Over $200,000 has been provided to date to hire performers to enhance the event.
Additionally, in the past RAC:
- Received a grant from Spirit BC for Winterfest 2011 to hire artists
- Co-hosted three Art at Work Symposiums with the City
- Partnered with the City of Richmond, Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Gateway Theatre, and BC Children’s Art & Literacy Society in commissioning the 2008 cultural scan and economic impact study.
- Provided information to the City about how arts groups were affected by BC government funding cuts
- Advocated to the Provincial government to stop the cuts to the arts in Access Gaming funding. Responded to the Gaming Grants Distribution Review.
- Lobbied Richmond City Council to have a separate City Grant program for arts
- Provided a representative to the Olympic Torch Relay Community Task Force to advance programming of local artists
- Assisted Speed Skating Canada in creating local art on speed skating for their pavilion and for sale at the Olympics
- Participated in Civic Study Circles
- Identified arts opportunities for winners of a Tourism Richmond contest
- Provided several Board members to sit on the Steering Committee for a fishing mural at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery