The 100 Mile and District Arts Council is looking at gaming grants and other funding options in the event it has to cancel the annual South Cariboo Winter Arts and Crafts Fair due to COVID-19.
Retired teacher and council co-chair Tammie Ozanne said the council is hopeful the annual craft fair – their biggest event project at the moment — will go ahead, especially since it had to cancel its first Spring Arts and Crafts Fair this year, which was slated to coincide with the Cyclone Taylor Cup. Vendors have been contacted and plans are in the works for a raffle of some artwork that’s been donated to the council.
“We’re taking (vendor) applications but we’re not asking for any money,” Ozanne said. “What I want vendors to know is they have their locations (secured). Unfortunately, we can’t say 100 percent we’re going ahead until we know what this crazy world is going to be doing.”
The Winter Arts and Crafts Fair is typically held in the third week of November at the 100 Mile Community Hall with around 25 to 27 vendors. Ozanne said they will likely cap the number of vendors at 25 this year, use headcount provisions to ensure the number of participants stays below 50 and maintain hand sanitizing, social distancing and mask protocols.
The Winter Arts and Crafts Fair helps to financially support user groups including the South Cariboo Spinners and Weavers, Parkside Art Gallery and the Eclectica Choir, and funds three scholarships for Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School. The organization also supports travelling artists who come through the area with a small honorarium.
If the event doesn’t go ahead, Ozanne said the council will look at supplementing the lost revenue through gaming grant opportunities, as well as consider hosting a Spring Arts and Crafts Fair again in 2021.
“We’re proactive to make sure the money will be there,” Ozanne said. “We have so many talented people here from the young to the seniors. They may not have the opportunities unless we step forward to help.”
As a smaller group, Ozanne said they can’t typically do the bigger projects, in part because they’re no longer funded by the B.C. Arts Council as they don’t meet their parameters. To Ozanne, art is an integral part of the 100 Mile House community and said it’s up to everybody to support it in any way they can.