Project Grant Program – Organizations

Project Grant Program – Organizations

The purpose of this document is to outline the roles and responsibilities of assessors, and to outline the criteria and processes of the program(s) being assessed. Reviewing, understanding and committing to adhere to these terms is a pre-requisite for assessing the program(s).

Program Overview

This program is intended to provide equitable access to one-time project funding on a yearly basis to arts organizations not funded through the Operating Grant or City-Builder programs from 2019 onwards. The intention is to support projects that exemplify what our artistic community has to offer and ensures citizens of Calgary continue to have access to meaningful, high-quality artistic experiences.

Description of Role

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

The criteria for the Project Grant Program – Organizations are:

  • Artistic Impact: The thoughtfulness, quality and intention of the work being proposed, its potential to further the applicant’s artistic goals, and its potential to meaningfully contribute to a related artistic discipline or community.
  • Public Impact: How clearly the applicant has identified and understands their public and how meaningfully, intentionally and thoughtfully the applicant proposes to engage with them though the proposed project.
  • Planning (Phase 2 Criteria only): How effective, researched, thoughtful, and feasible the proposed project and budget are.

Assessors should consult the Project Grant Program – Organizations Guidelines for further information.

Each member of the assessment committee will be required to read, score, and comment on all applications to Phase 1: Request for Proposals. The assessors’ total scores in the first phase will determine the cohort of 20 ~ 40 which will move forward to Phase 2: Application.

The assessors will then read, score, and comment on all applications in Phase 2, after which assessors will meet as a group to discuss, assess and prioritize applications to provide final investment recommendations to Calgary Arts Development. During this phase, assessors will have access to information provided in Phase 1 as well as the full application completed in Phase 2.


Assessors are responsible for:

  • Making funding recommendations to Calgary Arts Development in keeping with the stated criteria for the Project Grant Program – Organizations.
  • Participating in assessor training and orientation sessions hosted by Calgary Arts Development.
  • 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.

Commitment to Equity

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 Metis People of Region 3, and all 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 city where all artists have the freedom, agency, and platform to share and amplify their stories, art, cultures and experiences. We ask that all assessors bear this in mind as we share the responsibility of recommending funding and/or 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 and/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:
    1. Respecting each person regardless of how they identify, including their gender, sexuality, age, religion, beliefs, nation, etc.
    2. Not interrupting others.
    3. Being mindful of how much time/space we each take up in discussions.
    4. Making time/space for others to speak.
    5. Using “I” statements (“I feel,” “I think,” “I wonder,” etc.).
    6. Replacing criticism with questions and encouragement.
    7. Respecting those who wish to listen silently.
  2. We will respect all art forms, traditional, contemporary or other.
  3. We will consider what the criteria mean for each applicant based on:
    1. How they define their own practice.
    2. What is appropriate within their artistic discipline.
    3. Their stage of career/practice/experience/expertise in their form.
    4. A respect for the unique traditions and rights of different First Nations, Metis and Inuit nations/communities.
  4. We will try to focus every conversation around what we appreciate about every project.
  5. We will remember that this is not a panel of experts:
    1. We will honour the knowledge and experience others share.
    2. We will not impose arbitrary standards or ideas on an applicant or their project/activity that are not appropriate to the specific context.
    3. We will acknowledge the experiences and values that may make each of us biased.
    4. We will allow others to help us check in with our biases in a respectful and productive way.


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. Assessors are appointed by staff through a public nomination process. Candidates are screened for qualifications in line with program needs, as well as any potential conflicts of interest.

Calgary Arts Development will appoint two committees for the Project Grant Program – Organizations. The first committee will assess Phase 1: Request for Proposals, and a second, which may include up to two assessors from the first committee, will assess Phase 2: Application.

Qualifications and Required Skills

Community Members: Calgarians 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

Peers: 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: “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 Skills

  • Marketing and communications.
  • Peers: 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.
  • Community Members: An understanding and familiarity with the arts (dance, music, theatre, literary arts, film, media arts, visual arts, and/or festivals and events).
  • 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, wherever 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 Project Grant Program – Organizations is:

March 2019: One training and orientation session in preparation for the review process.
April – May 2019: Online review process for Phase 1: Request for Proposals.
May 2019: One training and orientation session in preparation for the review process.
June – July 2019: Online review process for Phase 2: Application.
July 2019: Two full-day review meetings to discuss each application and make recommendations for funding.
March 2019 – September 2020: Experience arts activities of the applicants being assessed.

Committee members are encouraged to view the work of Project Grant Program – Organizations 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 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 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 a confidentiality agreement prior to accessing any confidential information.


Calgary Arts Development will provide a working wage to assessors. The wage will be mailed to assessors after the reviewing process is completed:

$3.75/application for Phase 1 ($15/hour, 15 minutes per application)
$7.50/application for Phase 2 ($15/hour, 30 minutes per application)
$15/hour for assessor training session (up to three hours) and in-person jury meetings (up to 16 hours)

Contact Information

Please contact the Community Investment team with any questions about the assessment process at 403.476.2031 or

Download Assessor Terms of Reference as a PDF

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