Artists experience a ‘ripple effect’ of benefits through Artist Opportunity Grant Program

News Release Categories: 2014

Artists experience a ‘ripple effect’ of benefits through Artist Opportunity Grant Program

August 19, 2014

Program invests in artists’ career development opportunities

(Calgary AB) – Calgary-based artists continue to enjoy wide-ranging benefits from investment in their careers as part of Calgary Arts Development’s Artist Opportunity Grant. The pilot program launched in October 2013, and has invested close to $100,000 in 52 artists for opportunities such as mentorships, workshops, exhibitions, residencies, festivals and conferences that are taking place across the country and internationally.

The program offers grants up to $2,500 for artists to take advantage of short-term opportunities that will develop their careers. In addition to achieving their immediate goals, the opportunities funded by the program often lead to unexpected results and connections that are valuable to the recipient’s artistic practice.

Musician Natalie DeJong received $2,500 to travel to the world’s first Suzuki trumpet teacher training course at the Vasteras School of the Arts in Sweden. She is now North America’s first accredited Suzuki trumpet instructor and is launching a program for children aged three to 10 at Mount Royal Conservatory this fall. While at the training course, DeJong met colleagues in the Suzuki community from across the world and also connected with musicians in Sweden, which ultimately led to her performing with the Swedish Baroque Orchestra in Stockholm last May.

“The idea to work on developing a method to teach small children to play the trumpet has been a concept on my mind for almost 10 years, and Calgary Arts Development has provided a significant boost to propel the project forward from dabbling to do,” says Natalie DeJong. “Without the financial support to travel to Sweden, I would not be in the position now of being officially certified to teach trumpet with the Suzuki method to young children, to be directly involved as a member of an international team in developing and spreading this new trumpet method as it evolves, and to be able to launch the first program of its kind outside of Sweden—an opportunity that has and will open doors for me in my career as a musician.”

Residencies and mentorships funded by the program took place around the world, such as in China, France, Iceland, Mexico and New Zealand. Other opportunities have included international festivals, film classes, improv workshops, writers’ conferences, and dance, clown and voice intensives.

“Like all professionals, artists encounter opportunities that build their skills, expand their networks, and develop their careers,” says Patti Pon, President & CEO of Calgary Arts Development. “We hear countless stories from Artist Opportunity Grant recipients of the profound and sometimes serendipitous results of our investment in their careers, and we believe this program is providing a strong ripple effect for both individual artists and Calgary’s arts community as a whole.”

Intended as a pilot program for 2013 and 2014, the Artist Opportunity Grant Program has proven to be immensely successful, funding about two artists per week. While all program funding had been allocated by April 2014, Calgary Arts Development is working to identify additional resources for the remainder of 2014 and intends to continue the program into 2015.

About Calgary Arts Development
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.


Further Information
Cadence Mandybura
Communications Liaison, Calgary Arts Development
Phone: 403.264.5330 ext. 201 (office); 403.585.5390

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