About Creative Calgary

Creative Calgary is a non-partisan group of citizens that care deeply about the role the arts play in connecting our communities and building a healthy, thriving city.

Calgary’s artists are world-class and we aspire to be a creative hub, accessible to people of every age, ability and background. The arts and cultural sector is a critical component of the economic diversification of the city, yet we could be contributing even more. Unfortunately, the sector is under threat due to persistent underfunding from the municipal government, presenting a substantial risk to our city’s educational, financial and community vitality.

We have a considerable opportunity to enhance Calgary’s future through sustainable arts funding. 

The time is ripe for the City to make a significant and increasing investment in the arts.

  • A significant investment with annual increases will have a game-changing result and will establish Calgary as a leader among Canadian municipalities. We need to act to ensure our creative sector moves from barely sustainable, to a driver of  growth and diversification of our economy over the years ahead. Currently, Calgary’s municipal support for arts organizations is the lowest among comparable cities in Canada.
  • Calgary is poised to make an impact on the world stage. With “improved cultural availability” and “quite a large art and music scene”cited as a key factors in Calgary’s move up The Economist’s Global Liveability Index to a number 4 ranking in 2018 (1), increasing investing in our arts and culture sector builds on positive momentum.
  • Major international events are considering Calgary as a host.  An arts and culture scene with growing investment will ensure we are an attractive destination that can deliver world class events.

Arts means business. Arts organizations drive local business and fuel Calgary’s creative sector.

  • Calgary Economic Development has identified growth of creative industries as part of a focus on making Calgary a magnet for business fostering pathways to purposeful economic diversification and growth. (2)
  • Arts organizations deliver exceptional return on investment. $134 M in annual value-added or GDP impacts is returned to the Canadian economy by the 156 not-for-profit organizations funded by Calgary Arts Development.  $107 M of that is returned to Alberta alone with the predominant amount focused here in Calgary. (3)
  • In North America, the fastest growing industries are creative and technology. (4)  In Calgary, creative industries employ over 50,000 of our citizens and is integral to economic diversification of the city. (5)
  • In addition to the over 4,000 students that graduate from the city’s four major schools each year with creative industries-related degrees and diplomas (6), ACAD's new university status will continue to produce a large pool of qualified creative employees Calgary needs to retain and employ.

Arts Transforms Lives. The arts make cities more livable, interesting and inspirational for all citizens.

  • Children grow and achieve their full potential through lessons, classes, performances and creative interactions.  397,087 children and youth participated in arts education events in 2016. (7)
  • “With 61% of our population being of a visible minority group and 48% of residents born outside of Canada, often the only way to bridge cultures and groups is through the arts.”  
    • Brad Anderson, Executive Director, The Genesis Centre


(1) Global Liveability Index 2018, The Economist Intelligence Unit., 2018

(2) Economic Strategy for Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, 2018

(3) Calgary Arts Development Economic Impact Study, KPMG, 2018

(4) The 10 Fastest-Growing Industries in the US, Forbes, April 9, 2017

(5) Creative Industries Sector Profile, Calgary Economic Development, 2016

(6) Highly Educated and Highly Creative, Calgary Economic Development

(7) 2016 data from organizations receiving investments from Calgary Arts Development



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