Accountability + Impact Report 2021

Reports & Research Category: Annual Reports: Accountability & Impact

Accountability + Impact Report 2021

We are the city’s designated arts development authority, created to support and strengthen the arts to benefit all Calgarians.

We are proud to put public dollars to work in the interest of the public good. This means all public. We aspire to foster a resilient and sustainable arts sector that is safe and welcoming for all, regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, language, citizenship, creed, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, physical, or mental abilities.

What did the year 2021 ask of us?

A year of challenges and gratitude

2021 — year two of COVID — was another challenging year. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the arts sector, and particularly on individual artists. At Calgary Arts Development, our approach to COVID is guided by three Rs — Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency. 2021 continued to be a year focused on Relief. We are now just moving into the Recovery phase, which we believe will take the next three to five years as the negative effects of COVID linger. Internal and external research continues to paint a grim picture of how the pandemic is affecting the arts community. In particular, it has impacted individual artists’ ability to earn a living, create art, and present their creations.

We know that people continued to lean on the arts in 2021 to lift their spirits, and to find connection, meaning, and joy in their lives. We need artists now more than ever and we are truly grateful to everyone in the arts sector who remained nimble, adaptive, and driven by their desire to create and share work for the benefit of Calgarians. Throughout the pandemic, there was a seismic rise (1,049% increase) in the number of artists and arts organizations who found ways to connect with audiences and communities through digital platforms. Then, in the second half of 2021 the arts sector started, slowly but surely, to open up again to live, in-person experiences — experiences that Calgarians are eager to return to, while still being concerned about their safety. Despite this pent-up desire to experience the arts, it will take a long time for the sector to recover.

One of the highlights of 2021 was being selected by The City of Calgary as the future provider of the public art program. We are honoured to serve as the stewards of this program, as it aligns perfectly with what we stand for: our commitment to artists, community, accountability, and engagement; our commitment to equity; our Reconciliation journey; our breadth of knowledge and deep relationship with Calgary’s arts ecosystem; and our vision for a creative, connected Calgary through the arts. 2021 marked the first in a three-year transition of this program from The City to Calgary Arts Development.

On behalf of Calgarians, we invested $11.6M through more than 500 grants to Calgary artists, arts organizations, collectives, and events in 2021. A full list of all recipients of funding can be found on our website. The investment was allocated through operating grants, project grants, programs, and sponsorships supporting safe arts activities.

We thank our dedicated board of directors, staff, and the many others who gave their time to a variety of assessment panels, juries, and other committees. Together we continue to advance our two strategic priorities: fostering a sustainable and resilient arts sector and supporting arts-led city-building.

Patti Pon, President & CEO, and Brian Frank, Board Chair

Download the full 2021 Accountability + Impact Report:

Download the Calgary Arts Development Financial Statements for 2021.