Regional arts organizations adapt to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19

Apr 08, 2021

Victoria, BC– In late-February 2021, arts organizations funded by the CRD Arts & Culture Support Service were surveyed about the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their budget, staffing, space and programming.

Despite many challenges, survey results show regional arts organizations are doing better than predicted when last surveyed in June 2020, however most organizations (80%) face budget cuts. Most organizations (88.2%) continue to operate with modifications, with most relying on digital technology to continue providing programming to audiences.

“Organizations have pivoted time and time again over the last 13 months, while continuing to deliver essential arts programming,” says CRD Arts Commission Chair Jeremy Loveday. “Continuing to invest in the arts is not only an economic driver, but also central to the well-being of the region.”

The survey was sent to the 75 organizations that received 2020 operating and project grant support. The response rate was 80% (60 organizations) in June 2020, and 68% (51) in February 2021.

In the February 2021 survey:

  • 80% of organizations reported that COVID-19 has had a negative effect on their overall budget.
  • 39.2% of organizations reported no financial loss caused by COVID-19 in 2020. Losses for the year ended up being less severe than predicted in the June 2020 survey.
  • 11.8% of organizations that rented or owned spaces pre-COVID reported being unable to retain their space through the pandemic, compared to 15.9% in the June 2020 survey. The percentage of organizations with spaces uncertain about their ability to retain their space dropped from 17.5% to 5.9%.
  • 21.2% of organizations with FTEs (full-time equivalents) reported having laid off staff or anticipate doing so in the future, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another 12.1% of organizations with FTEs remain unsure if lay-offs will be needed.
  • 96.1% of organizations reported cancelled at least some programming in 2020, with 9.8% of organizations cancelling all programming for the year. Organizations ended up cancelling more programming than anticipated in the June 2020 survey.
  • 23.5% of organizations remained unsure about programming for 2021.

Read the full report, Ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on CRD funded arts organizations.

The CRD Arts & Culture Support Service is supported by Saanich, Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin, Sooke and Southern Gulf Islands. For more information, visit

Proud to be recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers and Canada’s Greenest Employers, the CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and all levels of government to enable sustainable growth, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at


For media inquiries, please contact:

Jeremy Loveday, Chair
CRD Arts Commission
Tel. 250.634.2327


James Lam, Manager
CRD Arts & Culture
Tel. 250.360.3205