Commitment to Equity

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 Goodstoney 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. 

While Calgary Arts Development’s intention to benefit all Calgarians has always been a guiding principle, we acknowledge that our actions — both conscious and unconscious, past and present, have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for Indigenous communities, Black communities, people of colour, persons with disabilities, Deaf communities, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and gender diverse individuals. We also acknowledge that our efforts to work towards equity to date have prioritized the lived experience and needs of some communities over others. Disability justice, accessibility and anti-ableism in particular have been left out of focus, creating a disparity of equity within the work itself. 

Recognizing these inequities, Calgary Arts Development is committed to the process of eliminating institutional racism, ableism and barriers in our programs, policies and practices by centring the creativity and leadership of those communities most impacted by structural inequities. 

This commitment is the first step toward formalizing our equity values in organizational practices that can support equitable outcomes by assessing and addressing disparities of equity. We recognize that our work must identify and consider the ways that inequities intersect within individual lived experiences and expressions, and commit to centring intersectionality throughout this process. We are continuing to develop community relationships to ensure our accountability to the transformations we have committed to. This commitment will continue to evolve as we evolve, and we will actively share our learnings with City departments, partners, and institutions so the city as a whole can move towards systems that benefit us all. 

To learn more about our journey in this work, including our future aspirations, commitment to accountability, current initiatives, and past work in equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, please visit the links below for more information, or contact Sayonara Cunha, the Community Liaison, through email or phone 403.312.6371.

The aspirations section outlines our long-term vision for how we might deliver on our commitment and what our organization could look like. The accountability section outlines how we hold ourselves and will be held accountable to our commitment and efforts to work towards these aspirations. The current initiatives section outlines the work that we are currently undertaking in order to better understand and achieve our aspirations and meet our commitment. The EDIA history section provides information and context about how we arrived at our commitment and current aspirations.

We have referred to and reflected on the journeys of many cities and organizations ahead of us in this work. We would like to acknowledge the Jerome Foundation’s RE-Tool: Racial Equity in the Panel Process project, LA County Arts & Culture, Toronto Arts Council, and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, whose publications and documents informed much of our work. We would also like to acknowledge the countless staff members, assessment committee members, applicants and grantees, and individual community members and arts advocates who have generously offered their time, energy, feedback, and support as we continue to evolve in this work.