Black Lives Matter.

The last few weeks we have seen actions in Calgary and around the world that have revealed and amplified the deep-seated racism that exists within our communities and systems. As an organization, Calgary Arts Development has committed ourselves to bettering our systems regarding equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility and as such we cannot remain silent.

In the last 14 weeks our work at Calgary Arts Development has been centred on artists and getting emergency relief funding to artists, arts workers, and arts organizations and we missed responding directly to this. It doesn’t mean at all that we don’t care. We have always and continue to be artist-centred and we take full responsibility for the time it took us to respond with a clear statement of where we stand and, more importantly, the actions we are prepared to undertake.

We support and will show our solidarity for Black artists and the trauma that has and is experienced by all BIPOC and artists with disabilities (AWD). Effective immediately, this is what we are going to do:

  • Commission and compensate a working group to help us re-craft our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) and further develop anti-racist policies and practices governing our work.
  • Make a donation to the Calgary Black Empowerment Fund.
  • Continue our commitment to our reconciliation journey as led by the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation commission and the teachings of Elders and Indigenous artists who have generously provided counsel.
  • We will convene our next virtual town hall on June 17 specifically to discuss the issues that have most recently been raised and we will listen carefully and deeply.

There is more work to be done. We cannot do this work alone. And we call for the solidarity of all artists, arts workers, and arts champions to help us hear what we need to hear and continue to strengthen our EDIA work already underway. If you wish to reach out to us with comments, please contact us at edia@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

We value the trust that many of you have placed in us and when we let you down, we feel it and we will do better.

On behalf of Calgary Arts Development

Patti Pon
President & CEO

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