How do arts help build a city?

The answer is as diverse as arts themselves: large-scale and small, traditional and cutting-edge, amateur and professional, once-in-a-lifetime and part of daily life. All of these aspects combine into a vital arts ecosystem that helps a city thrive.

At Calgary Arts Development, we think of arts building our city in four main categories:

  • Fostering Connections: Arts build community and enhance well-being, through our personal enjoyment of participation and creative expression, and the connections we make with artists and with each other through artistic experiences.
  • Enhancing our Economy: Arts contribute to our economy, both as a sector itself and in making Calgary a great place to make a living and to make a life.
  • Shaping our Identity: Arts shape our city’s identity, reflecting our diversity of experiences and voices, and attracting businesses, workers and visitors.
  • Inspiring our Youth: Arts develop essential skills in our youth, such as creative thinking, confidence, team-building, discipline and social interaction.

This year, we wanted to provide a snapshot of all of these benefits in action. For each area, you’ll find data that captures how Calgarians are currently engaging with arts, as well as a few representative stories (which were difficult to select—there are hundreds to choose from!). We’ll share updated data and new stories annually.

Whether you’re looking for information or inspiration, we hope you’ll find it here. More importantly, in the 364 days between updates, we hope you’ll recognize the many ways that arts build our city and celebrate the presence that arts have in your own life.

Patti Pon, President & CEO

Dean Prodan, Chair