Fascinating Information for the Arts & our Communities
One of the hot topics of discussion at the recent Creative Cities Network Summit attended by Suzanne with Wendy Meeres from the City of Red Deer was discussing Municipal investment in the arts in cities around Alberta. Airdrie recently did some digging to find out if investing in an arts council would be a good fiscal decision for their community and the resounding response was, "YES!" Part of this digging included conversations with arts councils and other groups in cities around Alberta, comparable in size and larger/smaller communities and the range in investment per capita spanned hundreds of dollars, topping out with St. Alberta spending the most, around $240 per person. (The Airdrie study hasn't been released yet, so all numbers are very rough and may be subject to change.)
The City of Calgary did a similar study in 2018 through Calgary Arts Development Authority, with KPMG doing the research, so they got a really good impartial view of what the economic impact of arts spending is. The best money the CADA has ever spent, in their own opinion as evidenced by the fact that the City of Calgary doubled their funding over the next 3 years.
"Beyond these immediate benefits, arts organizations fuel Calgary’s creative sector and deliver economic returns. It is estimated that $1 invested in the arts returns $1.90 in direct spending and $2.60 when you consider increased tourism benefits. In Calgary, creative industries employ over 50,000 people," wrote Irfhan Rawji and Mary Rosza de Coquet in an opinion piece to the Calgary Herald. Here is that article: https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-city-councils-bold-investment-in-the-arts-will-elevate-calgary-when-we-need-it-most
Here's another from Sarah Rieger of the CBC announcing the budget increase late last year:
If you're working in the arts, you might find it hard sometimes to argue the value and importance of the arts when we have so many social issues concerning our daily lives as well, so I share the link to this PDF copy of the study for your perusal and consideration. Perhaps it will help you seek out sponsorships, apply for grants, convince private investors or even your detractors.
Calgary Arts Development - KPMG Study (click this link to open a new tab)
There's also the potential for having a similar study done either in Red Deer or in conjunction with other cities similar in size (e.g. Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, etc.) to consider the impact as we go forward seeking future funding. Would this be something of interest to you and other arts groups in Red Deer? Please share your thoughts in the comments! Respect and open-mindedness are appreciated.
Coordinator, Red Deer Arts Council