City Selects Calgary Arts Development as Public Art Program Operator as Funding Restores – Calgary


The city announced Monday that it had chosen Calgary Arts Development as the operator of its public art program and that its funding – which had been frozen – would be reinstated.

“Reduce barriers”

The plan is to transfer the program to an outside organization to streamline efforts and cut red tape, according to the city.

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“Currently, public art projects, regardless of their scale and size, go through the city’s complex procurement process, which is mainly put in place to work with large companies internationally,” said the city in a press release. “It creates obstacles for local and emerging artists. “

“Having a third-party operator for the Calgary Public Art Program will reduce barriers to the participation of the local Calgary arts community in the program, increase transparency for citizens and increase investment in the local creative economy.” Said Jennifer Thompson, Director of Arts and Culture at the City of Calgary.

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City seeks views of Calgarians on future of public art program

On September 30, 2019, the board ordered the administration to hire a third-party consultant to review the public art program.

On November 25, 2019, the ART + PUBLIC consultant UnLtd shared his findings with the board.

On April 6, 2020, the board approved that the administration should “take the next steps to transfer the public art program to an external body.”

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Calgary’s public art program to become independent

After hearing from around 3,000 people, a panel of seven chose Calgary Arts Development to gradually resume the program by 2024. It was chosen for its “deep and proven knowledge and understanding of the dissemination of art to Calgarians. The city said.

A sculpture called “Frozen River” in Calgary.

File / Global News

“A creative and connected Calgary”

Patti Pon, President and CEO of Calgary Arts Development, is delighted that the organization has been chosen.

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“Calgary Arts Development has been in existence since 2005 with a mandate to support and strengthen the arts for the benefit of all Calgarians,” said Pon.

“The public art program aligns perfectly with what we stand for: our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility; our direct relationship with the arts sector in Calgary; and our vision of a creative and connected Calgary through the arts.

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On Monday, the council lifted the suspension of public funding for art, which has been in place since 2017, to allow for the transition.

Traffic passes the sculpture titled “Bowfort Towers,” by New York artist Del Geist, located near Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alta. On Wednesday, August 9, 2017.


Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the city looked at different business models during the “very big process”.

“Calgary Arts Development is already acting as the city’s granting body for the visual and performing arts, but not for public art, and they’re very good at branding,” he said Monday.

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“They know how to do this probably better than the city, so I’m actually quite happy that they’re done with this because it still shows there is public support for this program – it’s not Wal- Mart that makes our art public – but at the same time, puts it in an organization that is very good at evaluating and awarding.

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Kayleen C. Rice