Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Economic Development


As an economic engine for our country, Calgary’s success increasingly hinges on creative thinking and innovation, skills honed by arts participation. Also, a healthy arts sector typically punches above its weight economically and helps attract top talent to our city.

Section 35. Designer: Justin Louis (Cree-Maskwacis, Treaty 6). Talent: Rebecca Merasty (Flying Dust First Nation, Treaty 6) | Photo: Courtesy of Otahpiaaki

Patti Derbyshire and Otahpiaaki

When talk turns to ways to diversify Calgary’s economy, hopes usually focus on finding a way to transform the city through technology—the new ways of making business. Mount Royal University professor Patti Derbyshire, who teaches marketing, entrepreneurship and social innovation, has teamed up her business smarts with a growing team of emerging Indigenous fashion designers to make a business out of the old ways.


full-time jobs in the arts, recreation and entertainment sector

This is greater than many other industries, including retail trade; accommodation and food services; professional, scientific and technical; administrative and support services; wholesale trade; crop and animal production; and oil and gas extraction.

Research Note: The Economic Impact of Arts Organizations Supported by Calgary Arts Development, Calgary Arts Development, June 2014.

The Film Centre

The tone of the newspaper articles told one story. The data told another. In mid-May, there were a few articles about the Calgary Film Centre in various media outlets, mentioning that occupancy was down in the studio’s second season, which boasts 50,000 square feet of state of the art studio space.

The Calgary Film Centre | Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Film Centre

IN 2017:

Calgarians work in an artist occupation, comprising 0.7% of our city’s overall labour force*
million in direct economic output, including artistic expenses, facility costs, administration and more, via Calgary’s investment in its arts sector
full-time equivalent staff hired by Calgary arts organizations
artists hired by Calgary arts organizations

Based on data from organizations funded in part through Calgary Arts Development.

*Artists and Cultural Workers in Canadian Municipalities, Hill Strategies, December 2014 (based on 2011 National Household Survey).

Participants in the artsVest Alberta program | Photo: Courtesy of Allison Moore, artsVest Alberta



artsVest is Business for the Arts’ national flagship program that works directly with small to mid-sized arts organizations, equipping them with in-depth training, tools and mentorship relationships. artsVest Alberta launched a two-year program in 2017. Calgary Arts Development contributed $75,000 to sponsorship matching funds for Calgary arts organizations. In 2017, 27 arts organizations created 58 partnerships with local businesses and exceeded their sponsorship goal of $128,500 by raising over seven times that amount in sponsorship funds for a total of $946,042.



Five Art & Merchandise is a gallery, shop, and studio in Calgary’s vibrant East Village neighbourhood that is committed to finding unconventional methods of bringing contemporary art and creativity into people’s lives. With each exhibition they host in their gallery they release limited edition merchandise designed by the exhibiting artist. The merchandise is available both online and in their physical shop beside the gallery space. They also collect and offer some of their favourite creative brands, publications, and art made in and out of the studio. Five Art & Merchandise invites you to stop by, tune in, and join them in living an endlessly creative life.

Visitors check out Craig Question Scott’s drawings in his exhibition The Deadly Spawn | Photo: Courtesy of Five Art & Merchandise