Calgary Arts Development is situated on Treaty 7 Territory, home of the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Tsuut’ina, Stoney-Nakoda Nations and Métis Nation Region 3.
Thank you City Council for this increase to arts funding!
Last Friday City Council wrapped up its deliberations on the 2019-2022 budget, which includes a transformational increase to Calgary Arts Development’s base grant from the current $6.4M to $12.4M in 2019 and an additional $1M added to the base each year until 2022. These increases will go a long way in helping to build a more sustainable and resilient arts sector, which will contribute to a more vibrant, connected, and prosperous city for all Calgarians.
More than 75% of the funds we receive from The City will flow directly to arts organizations and artists, with the balance going to support our overall arts development activities including research and evaluation, sector building, collaborations with other city-builders, and administration. The additional $1M each year is specifically targeted to economic diversification through partnerships with Calgary Economic Development, Tourism Calgary, and other city-builder partners.
While City Council had previously invested one-time emergency funds to help our distressed sector, we thank them for recognizing the need for ongoing stable base funding. We don’t underestimate the magnitude of the increase at a time of austerity and we deeply appreciate the hard work and thought that went into the deliberations and decisions. This is the most significant show of confidence from City Hall that the sector has seen in over a decade in regard to how meaningful a role the arts sector plays in the economic and social development of our city. It also affirms the findings of the Calgarian Arts Engagement Survey and the Citizen Satisfaction Survey (page 30), both of which demonstrate Calgarians’ strong engagement with and positive support for the arts.
We want to extend our gratitude to Creative Calgary and also to all of the artists, arts administrators, and volunteers who were instrumental in communicating the need for additional funding, and for the tireless work you all do every day to create conditions for Calgarians to live creative lives.
As outlined in our 2019-2022 strategic framework, we have two priorities over the next four years: 1) Fostering a sustainable and resilient arts sector, and 2) Arts-led city building.
Grant Investment continues to be the lion’s share of our work. As a public agency stewarding public dollars to the benefit of all Calgarians, Calgary Arts Development will continue to develop grant investment programs that are rigorously assessed, strategically aligned to overall City of Calgary outcomes and most importantly support a vital and vibrant arts sector with artistic and public impact.
Investments through the Operating Grant Program will remain the largest funding pool for organizations over the next four years as we continue to offer stable, predictable funding to those we currently invest in. We will also ask organizations to think about and articulate potential opportunities created through additional funding.
We believe that operational funding may not be the best way to serve all organizations, and therefore will continue to offer investments through Project Grants for organizations and individuals.
Calgary Arts Development is led by values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and our continuing journey of reconciliation, based on the following three principles—one size fits one, nothing about us without us, and creating a virtuous (not vicious) cycle. Through this lens, we will create access to our funding programs for organizations and groups that are not currently funded.
Calgary Arts Development will invest additional dollars in individual artists, arts collectives and groups. We believe that investing in individual artists’ practices and projects is fundamental to ensuring the city of Calgary, Mohkinstsis, is home to a vibrant arts community and for Calgarians to have access to meaningful artistic experiences.
The Artshare Program will continue to provide equitable access to support for individuals and groups that identify with diverse communities and often experience barriers related to artistic practice. And the new Original Peoples Investment Program (OPIP) will support the preservation and revitalization of First Nation/Métis/Inuit (FNMI) art through arts-based projects and activities.
The additional funds will help build a more sustainable and resilient arts sector overall and will bring an increased ability for arts-led city building to occur whereby the arts can contribute in a meaningful way to a renewed vision and identity for Calgary.
Watch our newsletter and our website for details about each of the 2019 Grant Investment Programs to be announced over the coming weeks.