Public Art Director

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Public Art Director

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, and people of colour, 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 ones are in the building adjacent to ours–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 Authority 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 of 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, and the public art collection has been in existence and growing for over 100 years. Since 2004, the program has provided a broad variety of programming, permanent artworks and conservation of 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.

A New Direction for Calgary’s Public Art Program

In September 2019, Calgary’s city council directed city 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 for the public art program.

In November 2019, City Council publicly released a notice of motion, directing administration to move ahead on engaging the sector in the development of a request for proposal (RFP) for release in 2020 inviting proposals from external parties interested in managing the program.

After a rigorous engagement and reporting process, city 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 focused on stewarding public dollars for public good.

Calgary Arts Development envisions a public art program rooted in meaningful engagement leading to a public realm that tells the story of who we are and what we value as a city. We envision public art that Calgarians can connect with throughout our city; a program that reaches everywhere and everyone.

As a much smaller organization than The City of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development is able to streamline the program and reduce barriers for local artists to participate, while also increasing engagement opportunities and transparency for Calgarians. Our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility will serve the program well, increasing access and representation from a wide cross section and variety 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 for a full-time public art director to join our team. This role is a new position added to the leadership team, which comprises the president and CEO; the director, communications and engagement; and the director, community investment and impact.

Reporting to the CEO, the public art director will provide creative and executive leadership of the year-round schedule of commissioning, programming, and community engagement as an integrated practice.

While Calgary Arts Development has begun the work of creating a renewed vision for public art in Calgary, the director will further develop the vision to be shared with Calgarians and reflected through both the commissioning and acquisition of new work. The director is also responsible for ensuring the programming of the existing collection.

This role includes the management of the public art program, long-range planning of the program’s initiatives and contracts, and direction of the public art team. The role also includes leading Calgary Arts Development’s work in activating the existing collection through programming and education opportunities. This is done with attention to reputation management and risk management for the program and the organization.

The public art director is responsible for the successful delivery of a program implemented by a team of full-time staff and contractors, which includes a public art manager and a curatorial manager. The director will also ultimately be responsible for oversight of all contractors managed by their staff and engaged in program delivery, which will include artists and their fabrication and construction teams, and may include specialist consultants to support the requirements of particular projects.

This position leads reporting and accountability check-ins with The City of Calgary at key junctions and works closely with relevant staff at The City during the pilot period.

A function of this role includes the development of partnership and fundraising strategies and securing contributions for individual projects and broader cross-disciplinary initiatives as appropriate.

The successful candidate is committed to embedding the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in all relationships and processes related to public art. This includes Truth and Reconciliation and right relations with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities within Treaty 7 territory, 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. The director will be responsible for acknowledging the history of this land in the processes and work they develop.


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

As a member of the senior leadership team, the public art director:

  • Shapes and oversees delivery of the program vision, strategy, and annual institutional priorities.
  • Develops strategies, and plans across all program areas, including commissions, programming, engagement, communications, education, and fundraising.
  • Leads strategy meetings to set program goals and priorities, in line with Calgary Arts Development’s vision, mission, and values.
  • Ensures the delivery of the program responds to the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the White Goose Flying Report.
  • Ensures the delivery of programs and related projects meet a high standard of excellence and are delivered on time and on budget.
  • Leads reporting and accountability related to the public art contract with The City of Calgary at key junctions.
  • Has a seat on The City of Calgary inter-departmental arts and culture committee and ensures processes are in place for a two-way conversation between The City of Calgary and Calgary Arts Development.
  • Ensures that the public art project work plan aligns with the overall program budget and is supported by sponsors and stakeholders.
  • Negotiates with other relevant parties including stakeholders, consultants, and artists on project development and realization.
  • Leads the development of effective partnerships with the local, national, and international visual arts communities.
  • Oversees the content and planning of the program calendar; programming decisions, including partnerships, co-productions, and commissions, as well as developing appropriate programs and strategies for the dissemination of information and documentation for exhibitions and related programs. This includes programming related to the existing collection.
  • Develops and monitors related program budgets including the capital expenditures and public art operations budget on an annual and multi-year basis to ensure Calgary Arts Development remains a good steward of public funds and that fiscal goals are met.
  • Develops fundraising strategies and secures contributions for individual projects, broader cross-disciplinary initiatives when appropriate.
  • Develops, establishes, and maintains partnerships as needed, to ensure that projects are realized under the best possible conditions.
  • Ensures Calgary Arts Development liaises regularly with The City of Calgary regarding care and conservation efforts for the public art collection.
  • Supports communications and marketing of projects to ensure a strategic approach to disseminating program content; ensure that staff across the programmatic areas generate and contribute content on a timely and regular basis. Acts as media spokesperson for the public art program.

Who Are You?

For this position, we are looking for a visionary leader who is passionate about the Calgary arts community, public art, and enjoys working with people.

Ours is a shared leadership environment where we complement each other, help make up for each other’s blind spots, and enter into respectful and open discourse when it comes to understanding differences while reaching common ground. Leading in respectful, equitable, and inclusive ways is one of your core values, and you are committed to lifelong learning in these areas.

You will provide leadership and mentorship to our staff and lead our evolution in the realm of equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and our ability to work with groups that have different values, beliefs, needs, and feelings. As we talk together about your place here you’ll be able to speak to your experience working in and with a variety of diverse communities, organizations, and networks.

You are passionate about the importance of the arts and creativity in our lives, and are articulate in your belief in the power of the arts to transform public space in our city. 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 Calgarians are central to its vision.

Your interest is in building a program that ensures the public has access to artwork by both world-renowned artists and local artists at all career levels. You will help create education opportunities to ensure local artists can grow and develop the skills they need to access both local and international opportunities.

You will be a face of Calgary Arts Development and will be comfortable representing the organization at various meetings, events, and programs. As the public art program is new at Calgary Arts Development, you will act as an ambassador in building new relationships and developing new opportunities. You understand and have experience in a relational approach, versus a transactional approach, to community building and one-on-one relationship building.

You have experience with Indigenous worldviews, Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and with decolonizing systems and processes.

You are innately curious, brave, and comfortable working with rapid cycles of experimenting, learning, and refining, and open to the possibilities that our city and our circumstances provide.

You are able to balance the big picture as well as the small details and welcome a rapidly changing environment where you have to juggle multiple tasks of varying depth on a day-to-day basis.

You are seen by others as a person who is seasoned in the ways of building meaningful relationships and who approaches work and life with a hearty sense of humour and humility.

You’ve held a role like this in the past and are comfortable identifying priorities, and ensuring those you work with have all the details they need to be successful in their work. This is the kind of work that you enjoy and take pride in doing.

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

  • You have strong leadership and critical thinking skills.
  • You have the ability to express ideas and concepts effectively, orally and in writing, including the ability to prepare and present reports and the ability to create a persuasive case to garner support for key programs and projects.
  • You have an ability to maintain a high level of professionalism, discretion, and confidentiality.
  • You are comfortable with public speaking.
  • You are adept at managing risk.
  • You probably have experience in managing substantial department, project and program budgets.
  • You have an ability to develop and execute a multi-year program.
  • You have relationships and understanding of local, Canadian, and international contemporary art and public art.
  • You are passionate about working with people, and interested in building relationships.
  • You enjoy problem solving and troubleshooting to find solutions when situations arise.
  • 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 have experience with fundraising for arts initiatives.
  • You are a lifelong learner.

Our candidate most likely has developed these skills through at least 10 years of related experience in public art or museum management including program development, collection, and acquisition coordination, and community engagement, supervision, staffing, and budget development, and project management.

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 Greg Burbidge, Interim Director of Public Art, at

How to Apply

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

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

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 July 26, 2021. We are hoping to fill this position by September 1, 2021 but our commitment to finding the right fit may require more time.

Minimum annual salary is $110,000 in addition to an extended health benefits package, and a matching RRSP program. If a non-local applicant is the successful candidate, there will be a contribution to relocation costs.

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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