Arts Advocacy Tool Kit

While most of our municipal election advocacy work will gear up in the Fall, Creative Calgary knows that candidates are working hard on their campaigns over the summer and we want voters like you to be ready to advocate for a strong arts sector when those candidates are out door-knocking. The more voters talk about the arts, the more investment in the arts will become a major election issue.

A Case for the Arts

"Science will get us out of this. But art will get us through this."

- Mo Willems, American Writer

As we move into a new, post-pandemic Calgary, it will be the Arts that HEAL us:





Help Calgarians recover from the impact of COVID-19

Through the powerful medicine of the arts we hope to share the stories that heal and empower. Stories that bring people together to build stronger community relationships and create much-needed conversations.

– Michelle Thrush, Past Director & current Artistic Director, Making Treaty 7.

  • 83% of Calgarians value more than ever the social connections that come from attending in-person arts, culture, sporting and entertainment events regularly, and are eager to return.

  • 93% of Calgarians are connected to the arts and culture sector in one way or another.

  • 89% of Calgarians believe arts and culture activities bring people together.

  • In 2017, 49,500 people volunteered at arts and cultural organizations for a total of 7.3 million hours.

Energize Calgary's Economy

I call the age we are entering the Creative Age because the key factor propelling us forward is the rise of creativity as the primary mover of our economy.

– Richard Florida, Author and Professor of Economic Analysis and Policy, Rotman School of Management

  • In 2019, Calgary Arts Development (CADA) granted $9,789,980 to Calgary arts organizations. In turn, those organizations earned a total of $132,450,827 in revenue.

  • Pre-pandemic, Calgary arts organizations annually hired just shy of 10,000 artists and employed 1,550 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.

  • The operational spending of CADA-funded arts organizations generates a recurring annual economic impact of $134M in GDP activity for Canada, and $16.6M in revenues contributed to the three levels of government.

  • The economic impact of the arts in Calgary is actually significantly greater than what’s reported here. There are over 300 non-profit arts organizations in Calgary, but the numbers above only reflect the economic impact of the 156 organizations that are currently funded by Calgary Arts Development.

Attract Talent & Tourism

As today’s workers become increasingly mobile, quality of place has become a key determinant of where people choose to live. Even cities with a wealth of employment opportunities cannot thrive if residents are not given access to unique aesthetic, cultural, or demographic offerings.

– Steven Pedigo, VP Strategy, Resonance Consultancy

  • In 2019, Calgary arts organizations reported a total attendance of over three million people.

  • In 2016, tourists visiting Calgary spent just under $71 million on creative industries goods and services.

  • Nearly half of Tourism Calgary’s Strategic Framework focuses on events and experiences, with strong emphasis on cultural experiences and festivals.

  • Around 70 percent of young college graduates decide where to relocate based on quality-of-life factors. Urban life and city amenities influence their choice of city more than economic conditions.

Lead Calgary into a brighter future for all

“Arts and culture play a vital role in improving neighbourhood life in Calgary. Participation in the arts helps local residents by building social cohesion and establishing local identity and image.

– Leslie Evans, Executive Director, Federation of Calgary Communities

  • 74% of Calgarians believe a strong arts and culture scene is key to creating a vibrant city.

  • Canadians who rate arts, culture and leisure in their city or town as “excellent” are 2.8 times more likely to report a “very strong” sense of belonging to their city or town, compared to those who rate arts as “poor”.

  • 81% of Calgarians under 25 say the arts help them appreciate other perspectives and cultures.

  • 50% of Calgarians believe there should be greater emphasis on creating public art that honours Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour’s histories and cultures.

  • 89% of Canadians believe that arts & culture helps educate children. Studies indicate that students in arts-integrated and STEAM classrooms tend to outperform their counterparts in both math and language arts on standardized tests.

It’s clear that the arts play a vital role in the growth and well-being of our city.

Now, it’s up to you to make the arts a priority. Let the HEALing begin.