A Message from Patti Pon

A Message from Patti Pon

Hello Arts Colleagues and Champions!

I’ve been spending the past week, as I’m sure you all have, considering the potential impacts of the evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation on the arts scene in Calgary. It’s no secret that our sector is being hard hit.

So far, we have received notifications about hundreds of events being cancelled or postponed and many facilities being closed. We encourage everyone to continue to do their part in this community-wide effort to flatten the curve and contain the spread of the virus. That said, knowing that artists and arts organizations already work with extremely tight margins, I am deeply concerned about the potential impact on our sector and everyone who works within it.

As a central information hub, we have created a page on our website dedicated to COVID-19 containing links to useful sites as well as updates as they become available. Please visit it regularly and also continue to send us updates on your own activities. We are removing cancelled events from yycwhatson.ca as we learn about them in an attempt to keep the site up to date for Calgarians with regard to what’s on in Calgary.

Our strategic framework lists two top priorities: fostering a resilient and sustainable arts sector, and supporting arts-led city-building. If ever there was a time to consider what it means to be resilient and sustainable, it’s now. We learned a lot from the flood in 2013, but this, of course, is on a completely different scale, especially since we can’t predict the length of time it will continue.

As a connector, facilitator, collaborator, champion, supporter, and amplifier, we are continuously monitoring this situation to see how we might best proceed on a day-to-day basis in our efforts to support the sector.

Of high importance, we need to get a better understanding of the possible impact on our sector. This information will help us communicate to City Council and other orders of government what the magnitude of impact could be.

We have sent a survey to all arts organizations who have received a grant from us, which I ask you to complete and return to us by noon on Thursday, March 19. If you are an arts organization that has not received a grant from Calgary Arts Development and didn’t receive this morning’s email, the survey link can be found here.

If you are an individual artist, please keep accurate records of your losses for the next three months due to cancellations or deferrals taken to control the spread of COVID-19. Calgary Arts Development is working on how best to gather this information in collaboration with other artist-serving organizations.

Thank you all in advance for sharing this information with us as we continue to investigate how best to support the sector.

Although our physical office is closed until further notice, the entire Calgary Arts Development staff is working remotely to ensure the continuation of ongoing business operations and grant investment programs. Should you need to contact a staff member, the best way to reach us is through email. Meetings will be held through virtual channels such as zoom. Rest assured staff members are communicating with each other on a daily basis to make decisions and take necessary steps to support the sector the best way possible during this challenging time.

On Tuesday, March 24 at 3:00pm, we will host a virtual town hall meeting with the sector to update you on what’s happening and to take any questions you have. Details about how to access this meeting will be forthcoming.

The arts sector is a vital component of our city, creating vibrancy, belonging, and exemplifying the very core of what it means to be human. The arts are needed even more than ever in challenging times such as this. We’d be interested in any ideas you have about how Calgarians can continue to experience your work without physically gathering together in the weeks or months ahead. We are thinking about the same.

Please continue to take care of yourself and each other and support the community-wide efforts being suggested by Alberta Health to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

We look forward to the days when we can gather together again to celebrate and experience the arts live and in person. And in the meantime, I have no doubt that you are already imagining new possibilities and know that we will do everything we can to help realize them.

Patti Pon
President & CEO
Calgary Arts Development

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