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Artists Working in Community

As a part of its commitment to provide a variety of opportunities for artists, The City of Calgary Public Art program offers this extensive professional development course each winter/spring.

The Artists Working in Community course is designed to provide professional development for artists interested in pursuing public art projects with a community focus, and is intended for professional artists wishing to:

  • Explore and develop a community based public art practice.
  • Understand the opportunities and the challenges of community based work.
  • Discover the breadth of possibilities within a community based public art practice.

Through engagement with guest speakers, group discussions and course work, participants are provided with an in-depth understanding of community-based public art and how they can develop a practice in this area.  Participants learn about some of the types of public art that can benefit from involving community members in the process, and the important artistic and cultural changes that can result from such an interactive approach.

As a part of the course, participating artists are asked to design a public art project that will address specific needs and concerns of a community organization while incorporating community members in a participatory way.

At the completion of the course, a public selection panel chooses one of the proposed projects and the community partner will receive that artwork at their site.

The artwork may be temporary or permanent in nature. The total budget for the artwork is varies per year, and is funded by the Public Art Program.

2016 Course Info

Dates: February 24 – April 13, 201

Session topics

​February 24 Overview of Artists working in community course
​March 2 Community cultural development
​March 9 Community-initiated public art projects
​March 16 Social and economic justice How it applies
​March 23 Social practice - artist-initiated projects
​March 30 Site visit and tour
​April 6 Resources for community-based projects
​April 13 Tools and tips for working with the public
​April 30 Final presentations and community selection pane

Community Partner Organizations

2016’s partner organization is the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre (SMCHC). SMCHC is Canada’s largest integrated community health centre with over 40 health care programs. The centre is designed to meet the health needs of those who work, visit and live in Calgary’s inner city community. SMCHC provides services in urgent care, x-ray, community health, mental health, laboratory services and more.

Located in the beltline of Calgary’s downtown, the client population who are served by the centre are very diverse, from professionals to the homeless. The centre is named after the Calgary-born lawyer, Member of the Legislative Assembly and philanthropist who lived in the area, and was a longtime advocate of the less fortunate.

Seven artists will be selected to create artwork within the street-level display windows of the centre.

In 2015, envisioned by artist group Soul Tonic Studio, Marquee was the successful project that will benefit the community partner organization, the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

The 2014 artists chosen to create artwork for CommunityWise Resource Centre (the 2014 community partner organization) is the Green Footprints Project.

Selection Process

Artists participating in the course will present their project proposals to an audience consisting of interested Calgarians, participants of the Public Art 101 professional development course, as well as a seven-person selection panel made up of three community members, three local arts professionals and a representative from the chosen community organization. Those in attendance are invited to provide their feedback to the selection panel, and the proposal rated highest by the panel will be selected for completion.