What Did 2020 Ask of Us?

What a year! COVID-19 changed the world for everyone and the disruption to the arts sector was enormous.

It was one of the first sectors to be shut down and will be one of the last to recover. Yet, throughout the strange year that was 2020, people found many ways to lean on the arts, and artists and arts organizations continued to connect us, lift our spirits, and reflect the world around us. We reacted quickly to the negative effects of the pandemic with some short-term emergency relief programs, and as the year went on we undertook a number of strategic partnerships and initiatives to support the health and sustainability of the arts sector through this devastating disruption. Our response has been guided by relief, recovery, resilience, and reimagining a better future for everyone. 


The acceleration of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 had an enormous impact on our work. We sharpened our focus and deepened our understanding of what our values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) really mean and what actions we can take to imbue those values in everything we do. 


On behalf of the citizens of Calgary, we invested $12.6M through more than 700 grants to artists, arts organizations, collectives, and events in Calgary in 2020. The investment was allocated through operating grants meant to help keep the arts sector alive for the time when we are all able together again in person; project grants supporting innovation and adaptability in the development of artistry and the creation and sharing of work; and grants and sponsorships supporting safe public events. 


We thank our dedicated board of directors, staff, and the scores of others who apply their hearts and minds to a variety of assessment panels, juries, and other committees. Together we continue on a path that strengthens our two strategic priorities: fostering a sustainable and resilient arts sector and supporting arts-led city-building.

A photo of Brian Frank on a beach with water in the background

Brian Frank


Calgary Arts Development

A photo of Patti Pon in Olympic Plaza

Patti Pon

President & CEO

Calgary Arts Development