November 23, 2021Giving Tuesday at the RCA: Building Toward Another 20 Years as Kelowna’s Arts and Culture Hub

By Colleen Fitzpatrick, Executive Director

With the holiday season coming on, many of you may be busily preparing to make the most of those enticing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. While we love a deal, here at the RCA, the team is gearing up for a different sort of celebration: Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a special day dedicated to building support for the organizations and causes that matter most to you. It’s about digging deep and investing in all the things that make our communities vibrant, resilient, and engaging. This year, the RCA is asking our community to help us build towards another twenty years as Kelowna’s arts and culture hub.

For the past two decades, the RCA has played a leading role in fostering a vibrant cultural scene in the Central Okanagan. Working with local artist-instructors, we run a wide range of youth and adult art education programs that help (aspiring) artists of all ages explore their creativity. We program engaging live performances in our 325-person Mary Irwin Theatre, featuring local and touring musicians, amateur and professional theatre groups, and diverse dance companies. And we also maintain exciting community programs like School of Blues and the ever-popular Jazz Jam, which help make cultural experiences accessible to all. 

In recent months, it’s been thrilling to watch our community return to the RCA following nearly two years of COVID-related disruptions. It’s an enormous pleasure to once again see our theatre filled with smiling patrons and our classrooms and studios alive with creative energy. As we continue to navigate a challenging new reality of capacity limits and vaccine checks, we are deeply grateful for the enthusiasm and understanding of all our friends and neighbours.

Okanagan-based contemporary bluegrass band Under the Rocks performing for a sold-out crowd in the Mary Irwin Theatre on October 16, 2021

Building Back, Thinking Big

But there are no two ways about it: the pandemic has taken a serious toll on Canadian arts and culture organizations. Statistics Canada estimates that not-for-profit performing arts organizations saw a nearly 61% decline in operating revenues in 2020, a hit compounded by a 22% contraction in salaries, wages, commissions, and benefits for workers in these organizations. The RCA is no exception to this rule. Due to sharply diminished patronage and rental activity since the beginning of the pandemic, we are currently working to recover from a 64% decline in operating revenues.

This is why your support is more important than ever before. This Giving Tuesday, your contributions will help us build back from an exceptionally difficult year. But they will also do more than that. 2022 marks the RCA’s twentieth anniversary, and our staff is hard at work imagining an exciting year of innovative arts and culture programming. This will be a year of bold events, ambitious audience experiences, and compelling storytelling—all designed to help our community reconnect and to chart a new path forward for arts and culture in downtown Kelowna.

There is, of course, tremendous human need in our province right now. Whole communities are displaced, and many lines of connection and commerce are disrupted. This is why we encourage you to give generously in support of all the causes that matter to you. Our communities are stronger when diverse organizations have the resources they need to do their vital work. Here at the RCA, we believe arts and culture have a key role to play in building back even better than we were before. It is through creative expression that we can find one another again. Art provides a way to meet your community in joy and laughter and to feel and learn together in a fast-changing world.

That’s why this Giving Tuesday, we invite you to help the RCA build toward another twenty years as Kelowna’s arts and culture hub. We invite you to join us in creating new opportunities to experience, learn, and connect through creativity.

Learn More and Donate

Giving Tuesday at the RCA: Building Toward Another 20 Years as Kelowna’s Arts and Culture Hub