Our EDIA Journey Accelerated in 2021

Our EDIA Journey Accelerated in 2021

As a public agency stewarding public dollars for the benefit of all Calgarians, we aspire to foster a resilient and sustainable arts sector that is safe and welcoming, regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, language, citizenship, creed, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, economic status, physical, or mental abilities.

Our core values — equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility — guide how we conduct our work. We strive to design our policies, practices, and programs so that they do not create systemic barriers that are contrary to our values. 

Equity. We believe in creating equitable access for Calgarians who have had less opportunity for philanthropic and governmental support due to systemic barriers that exist in our community. This means we strive to mitigate the advantages some people have over others.


Diversity. We believe in supporting a variety of artists and artistic endeavours that reflect our diverse community. This means we strive to put public funds to work for the public good, and by that we mean for the good of all people, not just some.


Inclusion. We believe in engaging diverse voices and perspectives in shaping and furthering all the work that we do. This means people feel like they belong because their knowledge, lived experience, participation, and perspectives are welcomed and valued. It also means that no policy, practice, or program should be decided by us without the participation of members of the communities affected by that policy.


Accessibility. We believe in eliminating barriers that prevent people who encounter physical, mental, or cultural barriers to spaces, programs, and services from participating in the arts. This means we strive to increase our knowledge and actions through a commitment to disability justice. 

The arts build bridges, challenge stereotypes, and increase understanding, empathy, and resilience. They provide ways to celebrate our city’s rich ethnic diversity, participate in civic life, and create a sense of belonging. We envision a Calgary where there is a resilient and sustainable arts sector that is safe and welcoming for all. This is central to our values as an organization that stewards public dollars for the public good.


Our commitment to equity includes a focus on Indigenous reconciliation, racial equity, disability justice, and gender and sexual diversity. Our EDIA values are embedded in our hiring practices, our group agreements, our grant investment programs, and our community engagement practices.

Grant Investment Programs specifically focused on EDIA

ArtShare, the Original Peoples Investment Program (OPIP), the Indigenous Artist Microgrant, and the Honouring the Children Grant were all delivered in 2021 to ensure the rich diversity of artists in our city are supported and able to share their stories, cultures, and artistic practices.

Community Engagement

In 2021 we hosted the final gathering of the 2019-2021 Aisinna’kiiks dinner and dialogue series, which brought together those who have been on this land longest with those who are newcomers to Calgary. Led by Blackfoot Elder Saa’kokoto, Aisinna’kiiks included participation by Indigenous Elders, artists, students, arts and community leaders.

Calgary Arts Development engages with a community working group comprising practicing artists and arts educators or arts workers involved in social justice, change making, or equity organizing in community.

In 2021 the community working group helped us improve our hiring process, develop a commitment to equity statement, and investigate methods of conflict resolution. This working group is one way for us to embed community engagement and work towards new levels of shared leadership.


Members of the community working group in 2021 included:


Alex Felicitas

asmaa al-issa

Cesar Cala

Ebony Gooden

JD Derbyshire

Jared Tailfeathers

jaqs gallos aquines

Leslie Robertson

Pam Tzeng

Saa’kokoto (Randy Bottle)

Seth Lakota Cardinal Dodginghorse

Shannon Rusnak

Toyin Oladele

Wunmi Idowu


The Cultural Instigators are citizen artists who work in community to make things better for and with artists through an anti-racism lens. The Cultural Instigators is a CADA-supported but not CADA-led initiative that supports artists doing projects in community. An update on their major project — Bringing Power to Truth — was shared in November 2021 at one of Calgary Arts Development’s commitment to equity virtual town halls. 

Art for Social Change

In 2021 Calgary Arts Development was invited to participate in an art for social change national network. We extended our relationship with the Trico Changemaker Studio as a catalyst to nurture a network of community-based art practitioners and art for social change agents in Calgary. An online gathering took place in 2021 to start the process of getting to know those doing this work in Calgary and how the environment and the network could be strengthened.

The Artist as Changemaker program is a partnership between Calgary Arts Development and the Trico Changemaker Studio at Mount Royal University.

In 2021 the Artist as Changemaker program supported five artist residencies:


Barbara Amos partnered with Trico Living Well

Tito Gomez partnered with Confederation 55+

Melanee Murray-Hunt partnered with Sagesse

Kevin Jesuino partnered with Trico Changemaker Studio, and

Skye Louis and MelVeeX each partnered with ActionDignity


The work of the artists focused on complex problems associated with inclusion, anti-racism, and creative aging. Creativity is being listed by some as one of the most important job skills of the future and artists are often at the forefront of creative thinking and practice. The Artist as Changemaker program investigates the ways artists can use their skills to tackle complex problems and sees the power of the arts to contribute to social change.

Reflecting Calgary’s Diversity through the Arts

Art = Belonging. The arts bring us together, reflect our values, and tell our stories. 


Number of activities engaging multicultural communities 


Number of activities engaging people with disabilities


Number of activities engaging Indigenous communities 


Number of activities engaging 2SLGBTQIA+ communities