Strategic Framework

Strategic Framework

In 2018, City Council approved a transformational increase to Calgary Arts Development’s base grant from the current $6.4M to $12.4M in 2019 and an additional $1M added to the base each year until 2022.

More than 75% of the funds we receive from The City will flow directly to arts organizations and artists, with the balance going to support our overall arts development activities including research and evaluation, sector building, collaborations with other city-builders, and administration. The additional $1M each year is specifically targeted to economic diversification through partnerships with Calgary Economic Development, Tourism Calgary, and other city-builder partners.

These increases will go a long way in helping to build a more sustainable and resilient arts sector, which will contribute to a more vibrant, connected, and prosperous city for all Calgarians.

Calgary Arts Development supports the work of hundreds of arts organizations, individual artists, and arts groups. In 2017 these organizations provided over 25,000 arts events, which were attended by more than 3.3 million people—find out more at

Grant investment continues to be the lion’s share of our work. As a public agency stewarding public dollars to the benefit of all Calgarians, Calgary Arts Development will continue to develop grant investment programs that are rigorously assessed, strategically aligned to overall City of Calgary outcomes and most importantly support a vital and vibrant arts sector with artistic and public impact.

Investments through the Operating Grant Program will remain the largest funding pool for organizations over the next four years as we continue to offer stable, predictable funding to those we currently invest in. We will also ask organizations to think about and articulate potential opportunities created through additional funding.

We believe that operational funding may not be the best way to serve all organizations, and therefore will continue to offer investments through Project Grants for organizations and individuals.

Calgary Arts Development is led by values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and our continuing journey of reconciliation, based on the following three principles—one size fits one, nothing about us without us, and creating a virtuous (not vicious) cycle. Through this lens, we will create access to our funding programs for organizations and groups that are not currently funded.

Calgary Arts Development will invest additional dollars in individual artists, arts collectives and groups. We believe that investing in individual artists’ practices and projects is fundamental to ensuring the city of Calgary, Mohkinstsis, is home to a vibrant arts community and for Calgarians to have access to meaningful artistic experiences.

The Artshare Program will continue to provide equitable access to support for individuals and groups that identify with diverse communities and often experience barriers related to artistic practice. And the Original Peoples Investment Program (OPIP) will support the preservation and revitalization of First Nation/Métis/Inuit (FNMI) art through arts-based projects and activities.

The additional funds will help build a more sustainable and resilient arts sector overall and will bring an increased ability for arts-led city building to occur whereby the arts can contribute in a meaningful way to a renewed vision and identity for Calgary.

Download our 2019 – 2022 Strategic Framework:

Full Image of Calgary Arts Development's 2019 – 2022 Strategic Framework

Vision: A creative, connected Calgary through the arts.
Our Why: We believe that the arts have the power to build our city.

Fostering a sustainable and resilient arts sector

  • Develop comprehensive grant investment programs for arts organizations that provide:
    • Operating
    • Seed investment
    • Risk investment
    • Facility operating
  • Identify and reduce barriers to engagement with Calgary Arts Development’s investment and arts development programs.
  • Develop grant investment programs for artists that support:
    • Creation
    • Skills development (artistic & business)
    • Research
    • Experimentation
  • Acknowledge and support art and artists from diverse and equity seeking communities.

  • Continue to leverage investment in the sector with other partners.
  • Strengthen artists and arts organizations through capacity building programs:
    • Workshops
    • Coaching
  • Create a digital strategy for the arts sector in Calgary.

  • Continue to collect data to communicate sector impact.
  • Produce meaningful research for the arts sector.
  • Have transparent open data and reporting practices.
  • Provide strategic advice to our shareholder about the arts sector.

  • Communicate information about and for the arts sector through:
    • Digital platforms
    • Social media
    • SpaceFinder
  • Become the central info hub for the arts in Calgary.
  • Convene and connect the arts sector on a sustaining basis.

Key Partners
City Council, City of Calgary Arts & Culture, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Department of Canadian Heritage, the Calgary Foundation, Calgary Hotel Association

Arts-led city building

  • Leverage the role of the arts in partner strategies
  • Identify and support milestone and signature opportunities for the arts, e.g.:
    • JUNO Awards
    • CCMAs
    • Cultural Olympiad
    • Entertainment District
  • Provide support for the development of cultural tourism projects.
  • Support the arts in animating centre city through events, cultural celebrations and festivals.

  • Embed artists and arts at a neighbourhood level through partnership.
  • Embed artists and the arts in neighbourhood planning.
  • Encourage all Calgarians to manifest their creativity.
  • Encourage cross-sector collaborations between:
    • Arts sector and community leaders
    • Arts sector and social sector

  • Support opportunities for artists to develop as social innovators and entrepreneurs.
  • Identify and foster creative industry opportunities in YYC.
  • Support the development of YYC as a music city through a vibrant music industry and integrated music system.

Key Partners
Calgary Economic Development, Tourism Calgary, Federation of Calgary Communities, City of Calgary Arts & Culture, City of Calgary Planning, Creative Calgary, Calgary Technologies Inc., Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Alberta Music Cities Initiative, Calgary Convention & Visitors Bureau

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