- Posted by Terry Rock on April 18th, 2012
Here's another reason why cities matter in Canada, at least to the arts and culture sector: they disproportionately fund our work.
Stats Can recently published data on government expenditures in culture. I've long had a thesis that cultural planning/strategy and investment is more important and perhaps more relevant at the local level, because of how it relates to identity: people and places linked together. I wonder if the graph below supports my thesis:
At 29.1% of the total spending on culture (which, by the way, is a VERY wide bucket, including libraries, broadcasting, etc.), municipalities way outspend the other orders of government relative to their revenue generation capacity. Take a look at this graph, adapted from A Case of Fiscal Imbalance: The Calgary Experience, which breaks down the tax revenue generated by the 3 orders of government in our city in 2007:
Yes, that's right... of all the taxes paid in Calgary in 2007, The City of Calgary received only 6.6%. Though I haven't seen the data, my understanding is that the revenue picture isn't much different in other Canadian cities.
What are we to make of this?
First, when Mayor Nenshi says that, in this provincial election "Cities Matter," the graphs above illustrate just how much cities matter for culture. I think this is logical: civic leaders are increasingly realizing that a thriving arts scene is critical for both economic development (see this report from Calgary Economic Development) AND for quality of life: people want to live in neighborhoods with character and visit downtowns that buzz with activity. They want arts education opportunities for themselves and their children. Because our local council members hear about these local issues every day, it is no wonder that they find ways, with their limited means, to ensure that culture thrives in their city.
Second, Provincial and Federal governments should perhaps take a lead from their municipal colleagues. Culture matters to citizens, and municipal councils across the country are leaders in ensuring their citizens have access to these experiences.
Finally, and most importantly: imagine what would happen if that little orange slice of pie in the second graph was able to expand? What if cities in Alberta had the opportunity to control their own destiny? To fund their priorities with no strings attached? I'm confident that Calgary's Council will continue to invest in the arts if we have a strong vision and clear plans for how this sector will grow and contribute to the quality of life and economic growth of our city.
I can't tell you who to vote for in this or any election, but based on this quick and dirty analysis, it is clear that a better deal for cities in Alberta would amount to a better deal for the arts.
- Posted by Terry Rock on March 2nd, 2012
- Posted by Mike Scullen on November 22nd, 2011
When the friendly folks at the New Music Centre Project asked our team to participate in their latest fundraising efforts we responded with some seasonal enthusiasm. It is a sure sign that the holidays are upon us when you find yourself constructing local landmarks out of quantities of baked goods and sugar. This Edible Eddy project is a way to bring some funds and awareness to the New Music Centre's goal of restoring the beloved King Edward Hotel to former glories. It's going to be quite the comeback.
We are lucky to have Deeter Schurig on our team, who has studied architecture and has experience designing theatrical sets. He responded to this challenge as any good architect would and fired up the computer aided design software. The technology behind the construction doesn't end there either; the latest techniques in transferring pixels to icing were also employed to tell our story about the transformation of Calgary's arts and cultural landscape both then, now and tomorrow.
The Eddy is not the only grand old king in our city. The other Eddy resides in South Calgary and is also undergoing a transformation. King Edward School, with the help of the Calgary Foundation, is on its way to becoming an arts incubator (here is an impressive fly through of the vision). To further infuse Dickens (see title), the ghost of Eddy(s) past and the ghost of Eddy(s) future have informed this gingerbread construction while the ghost of Eddy(s) present wants to bring you sweets while you support these projects.
We all want new Eddys for Christmas. You can support the New Music Center by donating online or by coming out to their fundraising event: The CORE ‘Twas the Night on November 30th. Cantos will be debuting the top three Edible Eddys that night, you can vote live at the event on our Edible Eddy and enter to win a $250 Shopping Spree to The CORE. You can help us be one of the top three by voting for us through Cantos' Facebook campaign.
- Posted by Mike Scullen on April 27th, 2011
Calgary’s newest performing arts hall is going to be a real Alberta beauty.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi was among the dignitaries on hand at Mount Royal University Tuesday for the sod-turning of the university’s new $73-million Bella Concert Hall and Conservatory.
The new venue, which the university anticipates will open in the fall of 2013, will provide the campus, and the entire city, with a state of the art performing arts venue and arts educational hub. read article
- Posted by Mike Scullen on April 27th, 2011
Developers may just be drawing up designs for new condos in East Village, but city artists have already turned an existing EV building, the former Seafood Market, into a living, breathing, hub of the emerging neighbourhood.
The Seafood Market Studios, a CMLC initiative in partnership with Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA), opened its doors just last September. Today, the studios house 45 artists of all disciplines in all stages of their careers: there are playwrites and visual artists of every medium, emerging talents and well-established figures. It’s a microcosm of the East Village to come: varied, dense, friendly, creative...and very good at ping pong.
- Posted by Mike Scullen on March 25th, 2011
...Terry Rock and the 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada Bid
We are one of the most youthful and educated cities in the world, with a great arts scene that is not hindered by the past. The art here is much more likely to be something that is about new creation, as opposed to something that was created before. We have a bit of irreverence for history. So as much as the Western heritage is so ingrained here, there’s also a whole amount of work that we ignore. We just forge ahead.
- Posted by Mike Scullen on March 21st, 2011
The 100 block of Seventh Avenue S.W has an opportunity to transform into a space devoted to arts and culture.
It’s a one-block strip with a reputation for cultivating drug habits, criminal behaviour and discomfort for passersby.
But a local developer with a soft spot for restoring historic buildings thinks he can salvage the notorious 100 block of Seventh Avenue S.W. and its crumbling historic buildings by developing the area into a thriving arts and culture hot spot.
- Posted by Terry Rock on February 25th, 2011
We all want a great city, and research the world over confirms what those of us working in the arts know from experience: a great city needs a thriving arts sector. This means artists stay in Calgary and build careers here. It means there are spaces for artists to live and work. It means strong and growing investments in the arts, with government and the private sector confident that an investment in culture is an investment with multiple returns, part of the infrastructure of great cities.
I won't belabour the point here, but if you haven't already checked out my recent blog posts, have a look (here’s the latest) and let us know what you think. CADA's new strategic direction has set some ambitious targets, and to reach those targets, resources are going to be required.
To that end, The City of Calgary has just begun the public engagement portion of their 2012-2014 budget planning process. This is an impressively comprehensive effort to provide a voice for Calgarians throughout the budget process. Over the past 5 years, we have heard over and over (including our own opinion polling) that the majority of Calgarians support the goal of investing to create a thriving arts scene. This new budget process is the time to be vocal about your support.
Please look at the linked information about the process. There are multiple ways for you to have your voice heard. Make an appearance. State your case. Show your support. If you can't make it out, go online and give your feedback that way. Send this message far and wide to your contacts and connections not only in the arts community, but reach out to business owners and other Calgarians that share our goal of building a great city.
Let me close by making one thing clear. This process isn’t about lobbying for more money. More money might be an outcome. In my view, the process is about setting priorities. It is about sharing your views with City Council about what makes a great city, and having policy and resources aligned to get there. It is time for a thriving arts and culture scene to rise up that list of priorities.
- Terry Rock
President and CEO, Calgary Arts Development