Public Art Communications Specialist

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Public Art Communications Specialist

We acknowledge that the land we gather on, Mohkinsstsis, is the ancestral territory of the Siksikaitsitapi—the Blackfoot people—comprising the Siksika, Kainai, and Piikani Nations, as well as Treaty 7 signatories, the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Îyâxe Nakoda Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley First Nations. This land is also the home of Métis Nation Region 3.

We acknowledge that there has been art, music, dance, storytelling, and ceremony on this land since time immemorial and it is in the spirit of this land and its people that we do our work.

Employment Equity Statement

Calgary Arts Development is an equal opportunity employer and employs people without regard to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, language, citizenship, creed, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, physical, and/or mental abilities.

While remaining alert and sensitive to the issue of fair and equitable treatment for all, Calgary Arts Development has a special concern with the participation and advancement of members of designated groups that have traditionally been disadvantaged in employment: Black, Indigenous, people of colour, immigrants and newcomers, persons with physical or mental disabilities, and members of the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community.

We are currently working remotely to reduce the risk of COVID-19 contact for our staff, but it is important to note that our office in the Burns Building downtown is unfortunately not fully accessible in the following ways:

  • The Burns Building is not fully wheelchair accessible.
  • We do not have accessible or gender-neutral washrooms—the closest are in Arts Commons.
  • We are not presently equipped with technology that supports those with hearing or visual impairments.

While we seek to rectify this in the future, we feel it is important to be transparent about the limitations of our current facilities.

Who Are We?

Calgary Arts Development is our city’s designated arts development authority. We provide grant investments to hundreds of arts organizations, individual artists, and groups. We value relationships, generosity, reciprocity, plain language, and curiosity.

We believe the arts have the power to build our city. Through the arts development strategy, Living a Creative Life, our vision is a creative, connected, prosperous Calgary where every resident has the opportunity to live a creative life. We foster a sustainable and resilient arts sector, and support arts-led city building.

Strong relationships are central to our work, and will be particularly central to this role. We honour artists and believe that art is a critical component that benefits the public good. We welcome new introductions and partnerships with artists and arts organizations as well as with others whose work may be outside the arts who are trying to make our city great through living a creative life.

Our team has been working towards creating shared environments where all people can feel safe, heard, and validated. A sensitivity to the lived experiences of diverse, marginalized, and equity-seeking people is very important as we continue valuing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in all aspects of our work.

Public Art at Calgary Arts Development


Calgary’s Public Art Program was created in 2004 to deliver broad-based public art programming for the residents of Calgary, and the public art collection has been in existence for over 100 years. Since 2004, the program has provided a broad variety of public art programming, permanent artworks, and conservation to the public art assets on behalf of Calgarians. In the last five years, there have been broad-based discussions around the direction and priorities of the program.

The New Direction for Calgary’s Public Art Program

In September 2019, Council directed The City of Calgary administration to engage a third-party consultant to review a series of broad-based questions to determine if consideration of an external service model was an appropriate direction. In November 2019, Council released the public notice of motion, and directed administration to move ahead on engaging the sector in the development of a request for proposal (RFP) to be released in 2020. After a rigorous engagement and reporting process, Calgary Council approved the transition of Calgary’s public art program.

On March 22, 2021, The City of Calgary announced Calgary Arts Development as the future operator for Calgary’s public art program.

Calgary Arts Development as the Future Operator for Calgary’s Public Art Program

Calgary Arts Development is focussed on stewarding public dollars for public good.

As a much smaller organization than The City of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development will be looking to streamline the program and reduce barriers for local artists to participate, while also increasing engagement opportunities and transparency for citizens. We have a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility which will increase access and representation in the program from a diversity of artists. We look forward to stewarding a public art program that reflects who we are and what we value as a city.

The City of Calgary will work with us to gradually transition oversight and implementation of public art projects and programs over the course of three years, with full transition expected to be complete in 2024.

The Role

We are recruiting a full-time communications specialist to join our communications team.

This position is responsible for developing and implementing communications plans that will ensure broad awareness of and engender an interest in projects, programs, and the overall public art program. This position works closely with the public art community liaison and the public art team.

This new position is responsible for acting as both a content creator and communications strategist to ensure both artists and the general public learn about the new public art program and the various entry points they have to interact with it, as well as learning about the over 1,400 artworks in the existing collection. Internally, this role manages the information and communications needs related to public art for Calgary Arts Development employees and other stakeholders.

This is a term-specific 12-month role with a possibility of renewal depending on the program staff needs at that time.

This role reports to the content manager and works regularly with the director of communications and engagement on strategic planning and outcomes.

The person in this role supports work related to ensuring all Calgarians learn about the opportunities they have to engage in the public art process, and specifically in the projects that impact and tell the stories of their relevant communities. This individual also supports Calgary Arts Development’s work to provide new education opportunities to ensure emerging artists can find entry points into the public art program, that Calgarians are well informed about projects and programs throughout the community, and that Calgarians have the opportunity to learn more about public art more generally.

While a part of the communications team, it is important that this role meets frequently with the public art team and other staff members as necessary to offer expert advice and recommendations on communications approaches.

The individual in this role is also committed to embedding the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in all communications, relationships and processes related to this position. This includes Truth and Reconciliation, and right relations with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in Treaty 7, in part realized through the activation of the White Goose Flying Report, a local adaptation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report with calls to action that can be influenced locally.


This is a new position at Calgary Arts Development, and as such we recognize that accountabilities may shift as the program is developed.

The transfer of the public art program from The City of Calgary to Calgary Arts Development is a three-year transition, meaning that we have the benefit of working with and learning from the public art team at The City of Calgary over that time, including The City’s public art communication planner.

As a member of Calgary Arts Development’s communications team, the public art communications specialist is responsible for:

  • Being knowledgeable about the public art program and collection, and being able to speak to specific audiences about the initiatives, goals, and vision.
  • Developing and implementing communication plans in conjunction with the communication planner for public art at The City of Calgary until such time as a full transfer of responsibility has taken place.
  • Leading all communications around the public art program at Calgary Arts Development and the public art collection, with the support of the content manager.
  • Working closely with the public art team to clearly communicate opportunities for engagement and calls for submissions both internally and with the community to ensure engagement opportunities are well promoted, accessible, and shared with a broad audience.
  • Consulting with relevant teams and individuals across Calgary Arts Development, consultants, and artists on project development and realization, and what communications resources would best support those projects.
  • Collaborating with the public art team to create key messages and compelling copy for project briefs and artist profiles that support project and program objectives.
  • Creating content for existing Calgary Arts Development communication channels including websites, newsletters, media releases, and social media.
  • Maintaining new and existing communications channels for public art.
  • Supporting the development of digital assets around the public art program.
  • Monitoring social media for public art conversations and sentiment while staying on top of issues in Calgary pertaining to public art.
  • Working with program artists on promoting their work, stories, and projects.
  • Assisting with media relations as it pertains to public art including doing spokesperson preparation as well as setting up and attending interviews.
  • Assisting with the day-to-day management and maintenance of the Calgary Arts Development websites as required.
  • Committing to accuracy and fact checking for all information posted.
  • Reporting on the measurement and evaluation of communications plans, and identifying opportunities to continuously improve results.
  • Supporting the reporting and accountability requirements of The City of Calgary at key junctions, which includes drafting reports, presentations to council, etc.
  • Being up-to-date on, and employing, best practices in public art communications.
  • Building and fostering relationships with external partners.
  • Contributing to a communications strategy for the public art program over time that may include elements such as audience mapping, rollout planning, and auditing communications platforms.
  • Identifying and mitigating risks.
  • Managing contractors if required for specific communications needs.

Who Are You?

For this position, we are looking for someone who is active in Calgary’s art community, and is enthusiastic about acting as a communicator and connector so communities and artists can learn more about public art opportunities they can engage in.

You are a strong and fast writer, who is fluent in both spoken and written English. You have a passion for plain language and can adapt for style depending on your audience.

You understand multiple audiences that may have different and sometimes conflicting priorities, and that differences in priorities do not delegitimize the needs of either group.

You are probably already communicating about the role art plays in the life of Calgarians through social media, in person conversations, and other ways you share the stories of what matters to you. Your friends would describe you as a deeply curious person with both an ability to think strategically and a relentless attention to detail.

You understand that public dollars are being invested to develop a public program for public good. You will help create a program that ensures the needs and wants of Calgary’s citizens are central to its vision. As this program is new for Calgary Arts Development, the story you tell will reflect a new direction for public art. While building on the robust history of Calgary’s public art program, we will endeavour to deepen the conversation about public art and how Calgarians connect with it. Your communications strategy will be developed knowing it will be used to build new relationships and help people access new opportunities.

You understand and have lived in a relational approach versus a transactional approach to community building and relationship building.

You are passionate about the importance of the arts and creativity in our lives and are curious about different approaches and ways of working and learning.

You are committed to growing your awareness of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility and want to ensure that our systems reflect those values but this is not new work for you.

You’re not all things to all people, but you’re probably already a few of these things:

  • You are a champion for public art and the role it plays in strengthening our community.
  • You are passionate about working with people, and interested in building relationships.
  • You are well connected in the civic life in Calgary.
  • You are familiar with the local public art context and processes around public art development.
  • You have strong leadership and critical thinking skills.
  • You may have experience in directly managing contractors as part of larger projects.
  • You’re interested in best practices in continuing education and mentorship programs.
  • You come equipped with conflict management tools and can navigate tension between communities.
  • You are comfortable working in a collaborative and open work environment.
  • You are a self-starter who is adaptable working both independently and with a team.
  • You are comfortable working on a variety of social media platforms.
  • You have the ability to express ideas and concepts effectively, orally and in writing.
  • You have an ability to maintain a high level of professionalism, discretion, and confidentiality.
  • You are adept at managing risk.
  • You enjoy problem solving and troubleshooting to find solutions when situations arise.
  • You’re a lifelong learner.

If you see yourself in this opportunity, we would love to have a conversation with you. And if you’re not sure, you can learn more about us by exploring our website.

We are also open to having conversations with individuals in advance of the submission of an application to clarify questions about this posting. Please address those inquiries to Amy Jo Espetveidt, Content Manager, at

How to Apply

Please indicate your interest by emailing with your resume and cover letter. Please use the subject line: Public Art Communications Specialist Posting.

Your cover letter should address the question: “What role do you believe communication plays in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in public art?”

If you would like to request application assistance, please contact or call 403.264.5330 to arrange assistance. Details around application assistance are listed in detail below.

For best consideration apply by June 17, 2021. We are hoping to fill this position by August 1, 2021 but our commitment to finding the right fit may require more time.

Minimum annual salary is $60,000 in addition to a benefits package that includes health and dental coverage, and a matching RRSP program.

Application Assistance

We recognize that the job application process can create barriers to access for many applicants who are interested in applying. Our job calls are written in English, shared online and require applicants to email their applications in English. This creates technological, linguistic, communication, and cultural barriers, to name a few.

In recognition of these barriers to access, eligible applicants can request assistance to help alleviate some of the costs associated with preparing and submitting a job application.

Who Can Request Assistance?

Individuals who self-identify as:

  • An individual who is Deaf, hard of hearing, has a disability or is living with a mental illness.
  • An individual facing language, geographic, or cultural barriers.

To receive assistance, you will need to provide:

  • The name and contact information of someone who can help you (this could be a trusted friend or family member, or a professional service provider). We may be able to make recommendations depending on the service being requested.
  • The amount you are requesting, including the service provider’s hourly rate.
Types of Assistance
General Transcription or Editing Services & Organizing of Support Materials
  • Applicants who identify barriers within the writing process directly due to a physical or learning disability or due to living with mental illness.
  • Maximum Contribution: $75
Language Translation
  • Applicants writing an application in another language who require translation into English, including American Sign Language.
  • Maximum Contribution: $150
ASL Interpretation
  • Calgary Arts Development is able to make arrangements for reputable, in-person ASL interpreters for interviews, in consultation with the interviewee, and at no cost to the interviewee.
Interview Parking
  • Applicants who must drive to an interview at our request are eligible to have their parking costs paid by Calgary Arts Development.
  • Maximum Contribution: $26 per interview, or the equivalent of the daily rate for parkades or parking meters that are close to the Calgary Arts Development office. Please note that currently all interviews are being conducted via Zoom.
  • Applicants who require childcare services in order to attend the interview are eligible to be reimbursed for those childcare expenses.

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