Original Peoples Investment Program

Original Peoples Investment Program

This document has been updated as of August 2022.
Download the Terms of Reference as a PDF

The purpose of this document is to outline the roles and responsibilities of the volunteer assessment committee for the 2022 Original Peoples Investment Program. Committee members must review, understand and adhere to these terms, the program guidelines and Calgary Arts Development’s group agreements.

The Original Peoples Investment Program (OPIP) supports the preservation and revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) art through art-based projects that are supported and validated by FNMI artists, community, Elders and Knowledge Keepers. We recognize and support both traditional and contemporary Indigenous artists and arts practices.

Calgary Arts Development reserves the right to adjust assessment processes and the program timeline due to application volume. Applicants and assessors will be notified if significant changes occur.

Original Peoples Investment Program Guidelines add new link here
Group Agreements
Conflict of Interest Policy
Confidentiality Policy

Assessment committees will review applications in the online granting interface, and evaluate each application according to the criteria outlined in the Program Criteria & Scoring section of the guidelines.

Calgary Arts Development staff will download assessor evaluations into a scoresheet and assign numerical scores to the ratings. Each criteria statement will be weighted equally. The score assigned to each rating will be consistent across all criteria statements (e.g.: ‘Strongly Agree’ will always equal the same number of points).

The committee will discuss applications in a meeting facilitated by the program specialist. The committee’s final scores will result in a list of projects recommended for funding. Calgary Arts Development staff will review these recommendations and finalize the funding list.

Assessors are required to declare conflicts of interest according to the Conflict of Interest Policy. 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.

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 Confidentiality Policy, assessors shall maintain the confidentiality of their deliberations and shall safeguard such records and information from improper access.

Calgary Arts Development reserves the right to remove individuals from the process or assessment committee if they do not adhere to the terms of reference, program guidelines, group agreements, conflict of interest policy or confidentiality policy, or if their conduct is otherwise counter to the stated values and expectations of this program.

This program is intended to provide one-time project funding to individual artists, collectives, and Indigenous-led and centred arts organizations in Treaty 7.

The Original Peoples Investment Program (OPIP) supports the preservation and revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) art through art-based projects that are supported and validated by FNMI artists, community, Elders and Knowledge Keepers. We recognize and support both traditional and contemporary Indigenous artists and arts practices.

Assessors will be required to review, understand and adhere to the program goals and criteria outlined in the Program Guidelines in their assessment of applications.

The Original Peoples Investment Program seeks to support projects that align with any of the following priority areas:

  • Projects that support individual artistic and career development, including creation, professional development, business development, research and experimentation.
  • Arts-centred projects that encourage everyday creativity, including cross-sector collaboration, creative economy and neighbourhood-level community initiatives.
  • Projects which are either traditional or contemporary but are rooted in revitalization and preservation of Indigenous culture
  • Projects that reflect and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of the Treaty 7 arts sector and create opportunities for all Treaty 7 nations to access artistic experiences.

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 grants@calgaryartsdevelopment.com with any questions.

We acknowledge that the land we gather on, Mohkínsstsisi, 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. Today this land is home to the Metis of Region 3 as well as many First Nations and Inuit peoples from across Turtle Island.

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.

Calgary Arts Development is the city’s designated arts development authority, supporting and strengthening the arts to benefit all Calgarians. We invest and allocate municipal funding for the arts provided by The City of Calgary and leverage these funds to provide additional resources to the arts sector. Our programs support hundreds of arts organizations, individual artists, artist collectives and ad hoc groups in Calgary. Put another way, Calgary Arts Development is an organization that stewards public dollars for the public good. And when we talk about art for public good we envision a city where all artists and arts workers have the freedom, agency and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures and experiences: a city where Calgarians of all backgrounds can access, create and participate in art as part of their everyday lives. (Learn more about our Commitment to Equity.)

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. We will work one-on-one with applicants who experience barriers to access to develop accommodations that suit their unique abilities and situations and continually seek to learn and address inequities in our programs and processes.

The membership of the peer assessment committees will be chosen through public nominations and staff expertise.

Anyone can ask to participate on a Calgary Arts Development assessment committee by completing the assessor nomination form or by emailing grants@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

Membership of each committee is designed to create context, understanding and respect for artistic discipline, gender, sexuality, age, religion, beliefs, First Nation, physical and neurological identities etc. Creation of the committees will adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Seven-member committee for each stream.
  • Representation from Blackfoot, Tsuu’tina, Stoney Nakoda, Métis, Inuit and other First Nations.
  • Representation from Two Spirit, transgender and Indigiqueer peoples.
  • Representation across artistic disciplines and practices.
  • Representation from artist peers and community members.


  • 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 Treaty 7, 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 are responsible for participating in training sessions, the full application review process, as well as any scheduled assessment meetings with the rest of the committee. Participation in each part of the assessment process is mandatory to ensure all perspectives are present throughout the process and applied fairly to each application assigned. Assessors’ time commitment for this program is as follows:

Phase 1: Assessor training

  • Participate in online training and orientation sessions, hosted by Calgary Arts Development, in preparation for the review process. Specific dates TBD.

Phase 2: Online review process

  • Read and review each application assigned in full. Submit initial evaluations online in the grant interface, according to the program criteria.
  • Applications are expected to take between 30 to 45 minutes each to review.

Phase 3: Assessment meetings

  • Participate in up to four full-day assessment meetings to discuss each application as a committee, and make final recommendations for funding. As regulations for gatherings and physical distancing remain in flux, assessments will likely occur remotely using online meeting tools, such as Zoom. Specific dates TBD.
  • Online meetings will not exceed five hours, including one hour for lunch and regularly scheduled breaks.

Phase 4: Experience art

  • We strongly encourage assessors to attend arts activities of the applicants being assessed — during and after assessment. As part of your participation in the assessment process, Calgary Arts Development will provide up to two tickets anonymously on your behalf to any applicant’s public events, to ensure that you’re able to experience the work you are assessing within the community. Beyond this process, we hope that you will advocate for the arts in Calgary and encourage your respective communities to participate in Calgary’s arts sector.

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:

  • Reading Fee: $7.50 per application
  • Meeting Fees: For orientations and assessment meetings
    • Under four hours, $100
    • Over four hours, $300

Please note that Calgary Arts Development staff continue to work remotely. If you have any questions about this program please contact Morgan Possberg, Indigenous Program Specialist, at morgan.possberg@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

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