A sustainable arts sector is driven by a balance of healthy resources (inputs) that build the capacity needed to achieve and deliver vibrant creation and relationships (outputs).
Each of these elements is dependent on the others. Resources build capacity. Capacity results in high quality productions and creation programs.
Through exciting productions and healthy programs, organizations increase their reach and develop important relationships, which, in-turn, strengthen resources.
If properly balanced the cycle is virtuous (i.e. each segment feeds the growth and health of the next) and produces strong outputs that support the vibrancy and connectedness of the city.
If improperly balanced, the cycle is vicious.
In the case of the Cornerstones, the current stranglehold on reliable sustainable operating funding (resources) has created a vicious cycle that is eroding the sustainability of the entire sector and its ability to advance the broader goals of the city.
In determining current and future sustainability of the Cornerstone Companies, this report considers the past and current state of each segment of the sustainability cycle across all Cornerstones using data and testimonials provided through Calgary Arts Development’s grant investment programs.
Central to the findings is that diminishing or stagnant resources have been steadily reducing capacities of the Cornerstones to deliver on their mandates. If resources cannot keep pace with inflation, some organizations will be forced to dramatically reduce programs or close their doors altogether. At the same time as capacities have been shrinking, Calgarians have been more active than ever as audiences and participants in Cornerstone programs.
This growing demand from citizens is matched with a growing acknowledgement from the City and its partners of the importance of vibrancy and human connectedness in advancing the social and economic goals of key City strategies. The Cornerstones are major drivers of both vibrancy and human connectedness.
This framework provides a mechanism for identifying strategies that would bolster Cornerstone sustainability and move them from a vicious to a virtuous cycle.