COVID-19 Response FAQ

COVID-19 Response FAQ

On March 25, 2020, Calgary Arts Development President & CEO Patti Pon hosted a Facebook Live virtual town hall to update the community on what we are learning, what we are thinking, and what actions we are taking.

Emphasizing that things are not business as usual but, rather, business as UNusual, Patti underscored that future 2020 grant investment programs are all under review so we will be able to respond to the needs of the arts sector through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. She also announced a $1.15 million COVID-19 Short-Term Relief Fund, which will be available to organizations and individual artists with the most urgent immediate needs. Medium- and long-term strategies have not yet been announced.

The list below represents the most frequently asked questions we have received about funding during the pandemic. We hope it is helpful. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through and we will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will release operating grants upon receipt and review of interim reports, which were due on March 30, 2020. We will do our best to get the grant investments out as soon as possible.
Yes, we are using electronic payments as much as possible. For grant recipients, the community investment team will be sending a secure DocuSign email to collect your banking information. If you do not have the ability to receive funds electronically then we will send a cheque by mail.
The OG+ funds that were already allocated were for operating purposes and we expect there will be changes due to the pandemic. You can use the funds for operating and, if that is different than what you applied for, let us know for reporting purposes.
If you are a project grant investee, speak with our community investment team. They will work with you to make the grant work for you and adapt to the new realities you find yourself in. We will be flexible, taking into account the limitations imposed on everyone due to the pandemic. The community investment team is considering changes to reflect the new reality with our remaining 2020 grant program.
For the COVID-19 Short-Term Relief Funding, our number one issue is how can we offer support in the short term. We are talking specifically about immediate and urgent needs due to impacts of COVID-19 between March 12 and April 30.

Organizations in the greatest need were identified through a survey filled out and submitted during the week of March 16. We will reach out to those organizations to discuss support through this fund.

Individual artists and arts workers are also eligible to receive support based on lost revenue and irreplaceable expenses between March 12 and April 30.

Check our COVID-19 Short-Term Relief Funding page for further information.

These dollars have been redirected from some of our future 2020 grant envelopes that have not yet been committed. We see that there is a spectrum of urgency and need and we will be using the $1.15 million to address those most urgent needs that are being shared with us.
2020 grant investment programs that have already happened, such as the Operating Grant Program (OG) and the Original Peoples Investment Program, are running as planned. All future 2020 grant investment programs including Project Grant Programs and the Operating Grant Increase Program (OG Increase) are currently under review.

Nothing has been eliminated outright at the moment, but funds originally allocated for those programs may be altered to best support the needs in the sector in the medium and long term. Deadlines for future 2020 grant investment programs will be updated as we learn more about how long the pandemic will last.

Please check our grant investment program update page for more information.

No one can predict the time span of this pandemic, but we are likely in for a long haul as we enter the recovery and resiliency phases. It is premature to do a lot of work on an operating grant increase application because the parameters of that program may change and we may be asking for different criteria.

We advise you not to put an operating grant increase in your budgeting because we may be directing our dollars in fundamentally different ways as we respond to the needs of the sector. Even the way you use your regular operating dollars may be different based on the effects of the pandemic. We will update deadlines and criteria for future granting programs as we learn more.

For organizations, we are prioritizing short-term relief funds for those with whom we already have funding relationships. For individual artists, we will do our best to work with as many from the sector as we can regardless of whether you have received grants from us previously or not. Plans are not yet set for medium- and long-term support.
If the exhibit is part of a project grant, talk to the community investment team to discuss how you have had to make adjustments due to COVID-19.
Our short-term support is the $1.15 million relief fund for the most urgent needs in the sector. We are investigating many possibilities of how we can best support the sector in the medium and long term, which might include specific experience grants or digital funds. Nothing has been decided at this point.
It will not impact your ability to apply to our short-term artist relief fund, but it may not work for you going the other way—if you receive assistance from the relief fund, it may hamper your eligibility for EI or the new COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Be sure to understand the restrictions and guidelines of the government supports.
We are in frequent communication with our colleagues at all orders of government and we are all advocating to have arts voices at the table as governments plan for recovery and resiliency efforts. We will keep you posted as we learn more.
No one knows how long this pandemic will last. We have heard from many businesses, arts and otherwise, that clear direction as soon as possible is most helpful. What “flattening the curve” means in terms of time is the big question on everyone’s mind. As we head into recovery and resiliency, we expect the lifting of restrictions to happen slowly.


COVID-19 Short-Term Relief Funding graphicThe Calgary Arts Development leadership team includes President & CEO Patti Pon, Director, Community Investment & Impact Sara Bateman, and Director, Communications & Engagement Helen Moore-Parkhouse.

As the city’s designated arts development authority, Calgary Arts Development supports and strengthens 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.

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