Cornerstone Program 2015

Cornerstone Program 2015

This document pertains to the 2015 Cornerstone Program Assessment Committee.


The Cornerstone Program invests annually in non-profit arts organizations that play an integral role in sustaining Calgary’s overall arts ecosystem. Organizations may allocate these funds to any areas of their overall budgets.

Artistic peers assess applications and make recommendations for investment in the arts in Calgary as part of the Cornerstone Program. Artists and arts professionals serving as assessors provide a valuable perspective on arts organizations and their activities, while using the program’s criteria as a framework for learning about and articulating the value and vibrancy of the arts sector.

Description of Role

Assessors will be required to carefully consider applicant organizations and their projects, presentations or performances.

Applicants to the Cornerstone Program must:

  • Offer programming that is recognized as integral to our city’s artistic identity (locally, nationally and internationally), demonstrated through their history and future artistic aspirations.
  • Be leaders in Calgary by mentoring, collaborating and aligning with other artists and arts organizations, as well as stakeholders in other sectors.
  • Have attained a size and scale of operations and programming where they can intentionally drive results in all five focus areas of Living a Creative Life: An Arts Development Strategy for Calgary.

Each member of an assessment committee will be required to read and comment on all applications, attend a site visit for each applicant, and see formal presentations from all applicants. Assessors will then meet as a group to discuss, assess and prioritize applications to provide final investment recommendations to Calgary Arts Development.


For all Community Investment programs, assessors are engaged to make recommendations to Calgary Arts Development staff in an arm’s-length assessment process. Staff then provide these recommendations to the Calgary Arts Development Board of Directors, who ensure that the process upheld Calgary Arts Development’s commitment to transparency, as well as its fiduciary responsibility to make impactful investments on behalf of The City of Calgary and its citizens.


Assessors are responsible for:

  • Making funding recommendations to Calgary Arts Development staff and board in keeping with the stated criteria for the Cornerstone Program.
  • Participating in assessor training and orientation sessions hosted by Calgary Arts Development.
  • Attending arts events in Calgary for the organizations they review when possible.
  • Advocating for the arts in Calgary.


Calgary Arts Development optimizes the composition of the Assessment Committee to ensure that it represents a diversity of specializations, artistic practices, backgrounds and perspectives. Assessors should have an exemplary track record of professional, business or community-minded ethics and a strong commitment to the continued growth and vitality of the arts in Calgary. Candidates are screened for qualifications in line with program needs, as well as any potential conflicts of interest.

Qualifications and Required Skills

The Cornerstone Program assessment committee is made of up artistic peers, i.e., artists and arts professionals who possess professional experience and knowledge directly relevant to the arts sector.

Calgary Arts Development follows the definition of “peers” established by the Canada Council for the Arts as “people who, by virtue of their experience, knowledge and open-mindedness, are capable of making a fair and informed assessment of the comparative merits [of submissions]. … Peer assessment ensures that artistic quality is (able to be considered) in decisions made and thus protects diversity of opinion and artistic freedom.”

Additional assessor skills include:

  • A background in the arts (dance, music, theatre, literary arts, film, media arts, visual arts and/or festivals and events) that demonstrates a profound commitment to an artistic discipline and/or reflects a high level of artistic and aesthetic experience and accomplishment.
  • 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 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 no shorter than one year and no longer than three years. Assessors’ time commitment for the Cornerstone Program is:

  • May/June 2015: Review applications online and meet with applicants for on-site visits and in-person presentations
  • June 2015: Two full-day review meetings to discuss each application and make recommendations for funding.
  • January 2015 to January 2016: Committee members are encouraged to view and be familiar with the work of Cornerstone Program applicants as much as possible for the duration of the term.

Lines of Accountability and Communication

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 will be considered confidential. Adhering to the Terms of Reference, assessors will maintain the confidentiality of their deliberations and will 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 is 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 an agreement of confidentiality prior to accessing any confidential information.


Calgary Arts Development will provide an honorarium to assessors. The intention of this gift is to recognize the volunteers in dedicating their time and expertise to the investment process. The honorarium will be mailed to assessors after the reviewing process is completed. Honorariums are $6 per application and $50 per meeting. Food, parking, travel and accommodation costs are also covered for any meetings. Transportation and parking costs will be added to the honorarium provided assessors submit a copy of their receipts on or soon after the completion of the review process.

Contact Information

Contact the Community Investment team at or 403.476.2031 if you have any questions about the program.

The team includes:

  • Emiko Muraki, Director Community Investment & Impact
  • Jordan Baylon, Community Investment Manager
  • Kari McQueen, Community Investment Officer
  • Melissa Tuplin, Community Investment Assistant
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