Artist Development Microgrant

Artist Development Microgrant

This document has been updated as of January 1, 2021.
Download the Terms of Reference as a PDF

The purpose of this document is to outline the roles and responsibilities of assessors, and to outline the criteria and processes of the Artist Development Microgrant for 2021. Committee members must review, understand, and commit to adhere to these terms as well as the program guidelines and policies.

As regulations for gatherings and physical distancing remain in flux, assessments will likely occur remotely using online meeting tools. This may affect the assessment process, timeline, and make-up of the committees outlined below. Applicants and assessors will be notified if significant changes occur.

The Artist Development Microgrant is intended to provide one-time funding to individual artists and artist collectives in Calgary who have been impacted by COVID-19, by supporting professional development and business development activities as well the completion or adaptation of existing work that has been affected by COVID-19. The goal of the program is to allow artists to respond to new approaches and emergent needs, reduce barriers to opportunities, contribute to skills, knowledge and professional development and advance the professional arts and artistic practices in Calgary (known as Mohkinsstsis in Blackfoot).
Our team is available to answer questions and to offer support at any time during the assessment process. Please contact the program specialist as early as you can to ensure they can provide the best support possible.

Calgary Arts Development is committed to open, fair and transparent processes. We will work one-on-one with assessors who experience barriers to access to develop accommodations that suit their abilities. Some examples of accommodations are:

  • Translation of written materials.
  • Interpretation for meetings.
  • Braille transcription.

Please contact with any questions.

Assessors will be asked to read and review applications online, and score applicants on the criteria of impact, relevance, and feasibility.
Assessors are responsible for:

  • Participating in assessor training and orientation sessions hosted by Calgary Arts Development.
  • Reading and reviewing each application assigned to them in full.
  • Scoring each application according to the program criteria.
  • Attending arts events in Calgary for the artist projects or public works.
  • Advocating for the arts in Calgary.
  • Encouraging their respective communities to participate in Calgary’s arts sector.

The assessment committee will be asked to evaluate the applicant on a yes/no basis for program eligibility, based on the information requested and provided in the application. If the majority of assessors respond No for any of the eligibility criteria below, the applicant may be contacted for follow-up by the program specialist or disqualified from assessment.

  • Is the applicant based in Calgary, or do they demonstrate a clear and ongoing relationship to Calgary?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate that their practice was impacted by COVID-19?
  • Is the proposed activity or work eligible under the stated program goal?

Applications will also be evaluated on three program criteria: Relevance, impact, and feasibility. Assessors will be asked to rate the following four criteria statements according to the information requested and provided in the application.

  • The applicant has demonstrated clear goals for this activity that align with their artistic practice and the specific requirements of the microgrant program.
  • The applicant has demonstrated clear reasons why this activity is timely and how the grant will help them achieve their goals.
  • The applicant has explained how this activity will help or allow them to be more responsive to challenges and opportunities in the time of COVID 19.
  • The artist has the capacity or skills, time and support, to complete this activity and it is achievable within the budget and timeline provided.

Each of the four statements above will be given a rating of 1, 5, or 10, resulting in a total possible final score of 40.

Rating 1
  • Responses to application requirements are unclear and insufficient.
  • The application does not provide enough information or context to understand goals.
  • The application is unclear on how the artist’s practice will be impacted.
  • The application lacks clarity on how the activities will be completed as described.
Rating 5
  • Responses to application requirements are clear and sufficient; however, more detail would help in better understanding the application.
  • The application has clear and relevant goals; however, additional details and context would have made goals clearer.
  • The application explains in a general way how the artist’s practice will be helped along or changed; however, more detail would have made a stronger case.
  • The application outlines how activities will be completed but specific details were missing that could have given assessors greater confidence in the application.
Rating 10
  • Responses to application requirements are clear, thorough and directly address what is being asked for.
  • The application has clear and relevant goals that directly relate to their practice.
  • The application is precise and clear on how the practice of the artist will benefit.
  • The application gives assessors great confidence that the activities will be completed as described to achieve their goals.

The people on the assessment committee will read and score applications in the online granting interface based on the program criteria. The Calgary Arts Development program specialist for individuals and collectives, will review the committee’s evaluations and average total scores and the top-rated applications will receive funding through the program. Any tie-breaking decisions based on equity priorities will be made by the program specialist.

We acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Nations—Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai; and also acknowledge the Beaver people of the Tsuut’ina and the Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley bands of the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, the Métis People of Region 3, and all Indigenous people who make the Treaty 7 region their home.

As part of our responsibility to Calgarians to ensure equitable access to public funding, Calgary Arts Development is dedicated to addressing and working to eliminate institutional inequity in our programs, policies, and practices. We also acknowledge that our actions—both conscious and unconscious, past and present—have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for others.

To participate as an assessor in this program means you share a vision of a community where all artists have the freedom, agency, and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures and experiences. We ask that all assessors are mindful of this as we share the responsibility of recommending funding and support.

To that end, Calgary Arts Development’s community investment team is accountable to ensuring that lines of communication are welcoming, clear, and open, and that the scoring process is fair and deeply considerate. Do not hesitate to reach out to us to support your questions, both philosophical and technical, especially where personal tastes and biases intersect with or complicate your ability to evaluate this program.

Group Agreements

All members of the assessment committee will be expected to honour the following group agreements when discussing applications:

  1. We commit to creating a safe space for everyone by:
    • Respecting each person regardless of how they identify, including their gender, sexuality, age, class, religion, beliefs, nation, physical, neurological, cognitive and Mad identities, etc.
    • Sharing language that respects everyone. In the spirit of collaboration, we will listen if someone has alternative language to share, and offer alternatives to ableist, ageist, audist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist language.
    • Speaking from our own perspective, and avoiding making generalized claims or assumptions about others’ identities.
    • Not interrupting others.
    • Being mindful of how much time and space we each take up in discussions.
    • Making time and space for others to speak.
    • Using “I” statements (“I feel,” “I think,” “I wonder,” etc.).
    • Replacing criticism with questions and encouragement.
    • Respecting those who wish to listen silently.
    • Recognizing that vulnerable interactions can occur, and creating space to acknowledge and discuss hurt or offense if it does.
  2. We will respect all art forms, traditional, contemporary or other.
  3. We will consider what the criteria mean for each applicant based on:
    • How they define their own practice.
    • What is appropriate within their artistic discipline.
    • Their stage of career, practice, experience, and expertise in their form.
    • A respect for the unique traditions and rights of different First Nations, Métis, and Inuit nations and communities.
  4. We will try to focus every conversation around what we appreciate about every project or activity.
  5. We will remember that this is not a panel of experts:
    • We will honour the knowledge and experience others share.
    • We will not impose arbitrary standards or ideas on an applicant or their project or activity that are not appropriate to the specific context.
    • We will acknowledge the experiences and values that may make each of us biased.
    • We will allow others to help us check in with our biases in a respectful and
      productive way.
    • We acknowledge that we are all learning and may be at different places on our journeys. We will be patient with ourselves and others as we remain open to continued learning.
  6. We will respect the confidentiality of applicants and assessment committees. What applicants and assessors choose to share about their identities, ideas, and experiences will remain confidential, but we will take what we learn into our work and communities.

The membership of the peer assessment committees will be chosen through public nominations and staff expertise. Membership of each committee is designed to reflect the broad diversity of Calgary and its artistic communities, including but not limited to: artistic discipline, gender, sexuality, age, religion, beliefs, nation, physical and neurological identities, etc.

  • The assessment committee will be made up of 10 members.
  • Not all members will read every application.
  • Artist peers will be from a variety of artistic disciplines and practices and can also include arts workers with experience and knowledge in the arts community for example, staff, volunteers, board members, etc.
  • Arts champions and artistic community members are people who actively participate in, experience, and advocate for the work of the arts community. They may also have perspectives and skill-sets transferable to the arts sector.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Calgary Arts Development thinks of conflicts of interest as close family members, people who are involved in the activity being applied for or where there is a real or perceived financial benefit. If in doubt, assessors are encouraged to talk with Calgary Arts Development staff.
  • If a committee member has applied to the program or declared a conflict of interest they will not assess those specific applications or be present for any discussions of those applications.

Peers: Artists and arts professionals active in Calgary’s artistic communities with professional experience, skills, and knowledge directly relevant to the arts sector.

Community Members: Individuals with an appreciation for the arts (any discipline) who actively attend arts performances and presentations. Community members should possess skills that are transferable to the non-profit arts sector, including, but not limited to:

  • Non-profit board governance
  • Organizational management
  • Business planning and project management
  • Marketing and communications
  • Event production
  • Investment and resource development
  • Community and government relations
  • Design or creation within the broader creative industries

Additional Skills:

  • Relevant skills, experience, and knowledge that will accommodate the range of applicants to be juried.
  • A generous spirit, exceptional listening skills and a willingness and ability to embrace change, complexity and different viewpoints.
  • An openness to productively and respectfully check in with bias.
  • An understanding and awareness of Calgary and region, and an insight into our social and cultural climate.
  • The respect of peers in the community.
  • The ability to function well within a committee structure.

Assessors will meet for training and orientation sessions and will attend the arts activities of the applicants they will be assessing, if possible. Assessors will be asked to participate for a term of approximately one year. Assessors’ time commitment for the Artist Development Microgrant is:

January 2021: One training and orientation session in preparation for the review process (approx. two hours)
January – March 2021: Online review process
March 2021 – December 2021: Experience any arts activities of the applicants being assessed

Assessors will report to Calgary Arts Development staff. All deliberations of the assessment committee as well as all records, material, and information obtained by a member and not generally available to the public shall be considered confidential.

Adhering to the Terms of Reference, assessors shall maintain the confidentiality of their deliberations and shall safeguard such records and information from improper access.

Conflict of Interest

Assessors will follow Calgary Arts Development’s Policy on Conflict of Interest and Code of Conduct (excerpt from Calgary Arts Development’s Governance Manual below). All assessors are required to sign a statement agreeing to fully disclose any actual or perceived conflict with any applicant whose submission they have been appointed to review. Assessors with an actual or perceived conflict with an applicant will be removed from the assessment process for said applicant.

“Upon consideration of any proposed activity with the potential to benefit an organization or initiative with which the director or volunteer committee member shall participate in the decision-making process where there is a potential or actual conflict of interest. The individual so affiliated shall leave the room during discussion and shall not vote or use personal influence in the decision-making process.”


Protecting the Anonymity of Assessors During the Granting Cycle
Calgary Arts Development requests that individuals engaged as assessors maintain their own anonymity and the anonymity of other assessors in order to prevent the possibility of pressure being applied from grant applicants and the community that could affect assessments.

Disclosure of Assessor Names by Calgary Arts Development
Calgary Arts Development will release assessor names as part of its annual Accountability Report published the subsequent year. In the case where assessors are engaged in programs that contain a verbal presentation from applicants, assessors will be introduced to applicants at the time of the presentation, before the program cycle is complete.

Protecting the Confidentiality of Applicants and Applicant Information
All deliberations of assessors, all corporate records, and material submitted by applicants as part of their applications that are not generally available to the public shall be considered confidential. All assessors are required to safeguard such records and information from improper access and to sign and adhere to a confidentiality agreement prior to accessing any confidential information.

Calgary Arts Development will provide an honorarium to assessors as a gift to recognize their time. The honorarium will be provided to assessors after the reviewing process is completed. Assessors may be reimbursed for additional expenses related to the assessment process—please contact us to discuss. Honorarium rates for this program are as follows:

  • $8 per application read
  • $50 for training session (approx. two hours)

Please contact the Specialist, Individuals and Collectives Programs, Taylor Poitras, with any questions about the assessment process and program at or 403.264.5330 ext.215.

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