Vancouver International Children’s Festival is a registered charity that uses private funding to subsidize ticket prices and ensure accessibility to their cultural programming for all children regardless of social or economic circumstance. We spoke with Katharine Carol, Artistic and Executive Director, to find out more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
A lot of people don’t know it but the Vancouver International Children’s Festival is actually a registered charity. We are known for producing a world-renowned Children’s Festival that offers world-class Canadian and International professional performances combined with numerous hands-on cultural activities.
As a non-profit organization and charity, we use private funding to subsidize ticket prices and ensure accessibility to our cultural programming for all children regardless of social or economic circumstance.
What problem does it aim to solve?
We believe all children deserve the opportunity to see live performers, experience the thrill of artistic experimentation and be an active part of their communities. For example, the Festival’s Adopt a Class program provides performance tickets, bus transportation and all-day access to our hands-on art activities for enhanced support schools across Metro Vancouver that would otherwise be unable to attend the Festival.
When did you start/join it?
I started with the Festival in September 2010.
What made you want to get involved?
The Vancouver International Children’s Festival has been a cultural institution in the city for over 44 years and I wanted to be a part of continuing its important legacy. The Festival has inspired and motivated young audiences with professional artistic experiences that transform a child’s understanding of the world around them and what is creatively possible. Exposure to the arts is so important for children. Through sharing stories and learning empathy, kids can see hear, feel, think and imagine their potential and a better tomorrow.
What was the situation like when you started?
We had just completed a strategic study to look at moving the Festival from Vanier Park to Granville Island. This was based on both the need to access soft seat theatres as shows for children are often so sophisticated it is difficult to put them in tents, and also the increasing cost of having to build the whole site from scratch each year.
How has it changed since?
The decision was made to move the Festival to Granville Island and with the cost savings and the greater capacity in theatres we could further expand our Outreach programs to give even more children the opportunity to experience the joy of the arts.
For example, in 2012, we started our Good Neighbour program. Our Good Neighbour Program shares the magic of the festival with children and parents who otherwise would not be able to attend. Each year the Festival distributes performance tickets at no cost to low income families across Metro Vancouver.
What more needs to be done?
Now more than ever, there is an incredible need to experience the joy of the arts. We would love to bring even more families and vulnerable children from Metro Vancouver schools to the Children’s Festival.
How can our readers help?
Please consider donating to support our Outreach programs such as the Adopt a Class program. Your gift will help make more memories that will last forever for children in our community.
Do you have any events coming up?
This year’s Vancouver International Children’s Festival takes place at the end of May, both online and in-person on Granville Island.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
We work with a number of Festivals and arts organizations, and one of our favourites is The Vancouver Writer’s Festival. Please check them out.