PARTNERSHIPS, AWARENESS AND CONNECTION
Research and community engagement tell us that the arts are important to people for a variety of reasons—as a means of expression; to feel connected to oneself, to others and to place; to bring meaning to our lives; to offer opportunities for shared experiences with friends and loved ones; to connect to our emotions; to tell our stories; and to engender a sense of belonging. A vibrant arts scene is extremely important to attract talent and business to our city, to attract visitors, and to make Calgary a great place to make a living and a great place to make a life.
A powerful way to leverage support and develop the arts sector is by ensuring that artists and arts champions are included in important strategies, conversations, and events in our city. Calgary Arts Development works hard to develop reciprocally beneficial relationships with orders of government, civic partners, community organizations, foundations, associations, committees, and individuals in Calgary and beyond.
Throughout 2020 we realized more than ever before the power of collaboration with other organizations and agencies who have a shared vision for Calgary. Members of our leadership and managers teams were active participants in a variety of roundtables, collaborations, and workshops whose work centered around the ideas of economic recovery for the live event industry, public safety during the pandemic, shared prosperity, inclusion, and social cohesion. Some of the key work undertaken in 2020 included participation in the following:
City Partners Marketing group supporting LoveYYC, Buy Local, and a number of other local initiatives
City of Calgary’s Downtown, Festivals & Events, and Winter strategies
Network of Indigenous Funders of Alberta
Fine Arts Advisory Council for Calgary Board of Education
Suncor Town Hall hosted by Calgary Economic Development on the future of our city
Increasing awareness of the arts in our city has been a need since the inception of Calgary Arts Development and 2020 was no different. Even though in-person events weren’t possible for most of the year, artists and arts organizations adapted quickly and offered a wide array of programs, classes, and events online. What’s On in Calgary and yycwhatson.ca continued to give people an up-to-date listing of the many safe arts events they could take in all year long.
COVID-19 meant that our own in-person events, such as The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions and the Report to Community were cancelled, but we were able to host a series of virtual town halls in order to keep in touch with the arts community. And despite The Mayor’s Lunch being cancelled, we were able to celebrate the recipients of the 2020 Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards with an online gathering of the award winners and the Mayor.
Our online community directories are growing with rich information for people who want to learn more about artists, cultural groups, resources, and arts spaces in Calgary.
2020 marked the final year of Poet Laureate Sheri-D Wilson and welcomed Calgary’s new Poet Laureate Natalie Meisner. Sheri-D Wilson’s legacy project YYC Pop: Poetic Portraits of People included the publication of an anthology that included pieces by 76 writers who live and work in Calgary, with a poem by our own Mayor; an online exhibit; and a Poetry in Transit project that included lines from 10 of the poets featured on interior banners on Calgary Transit throughout October.