Civic Coalition Drives Unprecedented Funding Increase for Calgary Arts Sector
December 11, 2018 (Calgary, AB) – Creative Calgary, a non-partisan civic coalition of artists, arts executives, philanthropists and city builders, is celebrating a major step forward for Calgary’s artists and arts organizations due to an unprecedented increase in funding for the sector. City Council has approved a plan to double Calgary Arts Development grants from $6.4 million in 2018 to $12.45 million in 2019, with further increases reaching $15.9 million by 2022.
This investment elevates Calgary from one of the lowest arts funders per capita – behind Edmonton and Winnipeg – to one of Canada’s leaders, alongside Vancouver and Toronto.
Creative Calgary was initiated by community members Christine Armstrong and Irfhan Rawji, who approached Mary Rozsa de Coquet (Rozsa Foundation), and Donna Livingstone (Glenbow Museum) to form the campaign advisory group.
“We recognized early in 2017 that the municipal election cycle and 2019-2022 budget was the opportunity. We contacted every municipal candidate in 2017 and met with dozens to convey a clear and consistent message: Pledge to work towards an investment from the City that positions Calgary’s arts organizations to lead nationally and acts as a magnet for business and creative talent. We were confident heading into 2018 that over half of the newly elected City Council supported this position” says Irfhan Rawji, Creative Calgary Co-Chair and CEO of Calgary-based tech startup MobSquad.
Creative Calgary built broad arts sector support, with the City’s largest “Cornerstone” arts organizations represented on its advisory group alongside small arts organization independent artist representatives.
- Thousands of Calgarians joined Creative Calgary, pledging support, writing letters to candidates and volunteering.
- 60+ Calgary civic leaders signed on to Creative Calgary’s open letter to municipal candidates.
“For our part, Creative Calgary first worked to bring the arts sector together around an audacious goal, and then reached out to city agencies and institutions to find win-win strategies to help move Calgary forward. In response, City Council showed real leadership in its significantly increased investment in arts and culture.” says Mary Rozsa de Coquet, Creative Calgary Co-Chair and President of the Rozsa Foundation.
“This is the most significant show of confidence from City Hall that the sector has seen in over a decade in regard to how meaningful a role the arts sector plays in the economic and social development of our city,” says Calgary Arts Development President and CEO Patti Pon. “We extend our gratitude to Creative Calgary and to all of the artists, arts administrators, and volunteers who were instrumental in communicating the need for additional funding.”
Creative Calgary is a non-partisan group committed to working with Council to ensure the City’s budget maximizes local jobs for artists and positions Calgary’s arts organizations to lead nationally. Its advisory group and supporters represents a diverse cross-section of interests, including business leaders, arts organizations and creative technologists. Creative Calgary was generously supported by the Calgary Foundation and community contributions.
Shari Wattling, Project Coordinator, Creative Calgary