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 currently employs more than 50,000 Calgarians and 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 transformational and significant investment in the arts.

  • A significant investment 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 not only weathers the downturn, but drives the growth and diversification of our economy over the years ahead.
  • Calgary's corporate sector continues to be under strain and can no longer be expected to make up for the municipal arts organization funding gap.  Arts organizations have seen a 30% drop in overall contributions from the corporate sector since the start of the most recent downturn (1).

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 returns. $1 invested in the arts returns $1.9 directly and $2.6 when you consider tourism benefits (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).
  • Over 4,000 students graduate from the city’s four major schools each year with creative industries-related degrees and diplomas (6).

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

Calgary’s municipal support for arts organizations is the lowest among comparable cities in Canada.

  • Calgary art grants per capita are behind Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver (8), meaning fewer arts sector jobs for Calgarians.


(1) 2017 data from organizations receiving investment from Calgary Arts Development

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

(3) Business for the Arts Report, McKinsey & Company, 2008

(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

(8) Civic Arts Funding Across Canada, Calgary Arts Development, 2016


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