Nfld. & Labrador

ArtsNL says it denied funding for 3 groups because of botched applications, risk of audits

The arts council released a statement Thursday evening, just a week after saying it was retaining legal counsel in preparation with a legal battle with the Folks Arts Society.

Arts NL says it is subject to finance and AG audits, so incomplete applications can't be accepted

ArtsNL is a non-profit Crown agency that serves as Newfoundland and Labrador arts council. (ArtsNL)

ArtsNL is defending its decision to deny three organizations grant funding, saying the groups didn't properly complete the paperwork in their applications.

The provincial arts council released a statement Thursday evening, just over a week after it said it was retaining legal counsel in preparation for a legal battle with the Folks Arts Society

The Folks Arts Society, which runs the popular Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, lost $44,000 in expected funding for the next two years as a result of failing to fill out a yearly online database report in its application to ArtsNL.

One of the groups denied funding is the Folks Arts Society, which runs the annual Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival at Bannerman Park. (Ted Blades/CBC)

That group, along with the Gros Morne Summer Music and Riddle Fence, lost their second year of funding in a three-year program.

Arts NL says in each case there were significant omissions in support materials or they hadn't complied with the regulations.

The council says it can be audited by the Finance Department and the province's auditor general, so it can't relax the rules.

Hands are tied

In its statement, ArtsNL said it understands how concerned the arts community is about the funding rejections, but that it did what it could to let the three organizations know what was expected in its applications.

"ArtsNL's general practice has always been to offer every applicant any possible support prior to deadlines, and applicants are made aware there is no leeway to extend deadlines," ArtsNL Chair Stan Hill wrote in a statement.

"All three organizations affected were notified that they were eligible to alternatively apply to the Annual Operating Program for Professional Arts Organizations, which provided them all with equal opportunity to continued access to ArtsNL funding in the event their applications were successful."