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Public Art Policy Review


Policy Review





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Public Art Policy Review


Updated March 8, 2019

In 2017 Council directed City Administration to freeze all new public art projects eligible for capital funding through the Public Art Policy. Nine council directives were given to Administration, with a focus on:

  • Moving from a per cent for art funding model to a pooled funding model.
    • This means more flexibility and clarity on how public art projects are funded.
  • Creating a governance model with input from the arts community, City Administration, and the Public Art Board.
    • Having varied groups and voices involved helps ensure public art projects and processes deliver value for your tax investment.
  • Developing new procurement strategies to encourage diverse applicants.
    • Supporting a wide range of applications by artists from all walks of life and experience levels makes your Public Art program more vibrant, equal and unique.
  • Improving communication and engagement practices with a focus on public participation.
    • We want you to know and understand what your money is funding. You will also have a useful, positive way to provide feedback.
  • Exploring non-government and private sector investment opportunities.
    • Public art in Calgary belongs to everyone; contributions from other sectors, individuals and companies strengthen our ability to deliver great public art to all of Calgary at increased value to Calgarians.

Read the full report and detailed directives.

We've been working on these directives and will report back in March 2019. These are the focus areas that will be part of the report back:

Current and future funding state

In the past...

  • Under the current Public Art Policy, one percent of all capital infrastructure projects is allocated towards public art.
  • As a result of funding restrictions related to infrastructure projects, there have been issues with public art outcomes such as less-than optimal placement, cost concerns and public engagement practices.



The Future of Public Art in Calgary

  • Administration has created a pooled capital program, which will put all monies (1%) funding public art into one fund.
  • Community needs will now be the priority in Public Art decision making.
    • This means a more holistic and equitable approach to Public Art projects across Calgary that don't have to be tied to new infrastructure.
  • Every four years, we will work across the corporation to identify eligible capital funding and put one percent in a pool for public art and investment in community priorities.
  • Why this delivers on your tax investment:
    • Pooling into a Corporate Public Art budget means you'll have better accountability, transparency and flexibility in how public art is implemented across your city.
    • It will also allow us to be more strategic when deciding things like the location of art and will mean more investment in the local arts sector.
  • It's important to note that there will be no change or additional impact to capital project budgets. This is simply a better, more transparent way to manage the allocated Public Art funding.

Working with you

  • Our goal is to regain trust and credibility with you. Public Art will be involving citizen stakeholders in the development of our new work plan.
  • We're actively working with the arts community to understand and improve areas related to:
    • governance
    • procurement
    • communications
    • engagement

We will engage the arts community going forward through working-group sessions and informal meetings on these areas.

Prioritize investment in Calgary's creative economy

  • We've heard you and understand that investing in the local creative economy should be a priority outcome for your Public Art program.
  • We're going to focus on tying Public Art activities to expanding the local creative economy and arts sector including:
    • partnering with local institutions and organizations,
    • pursuing procurement strategies that remove barriers for local, regional and national artists, and
    • increasing the number of diverse applicants to future public art projects and programs.
  • We still recognize the importance of bringing international talent to Calgary, and must ensure that Calgary artists have opportunities to work internationally, as well. However, we'll remain accountable to national and international trade agreements and support our local artistic industry at home.

These focus areas support our new governance and oversight structure that help us meet our corporate priorities. We're looking for opportunities to involve you through the Public Art process and improve communication so you can understand and see the value of where your investment is going.

The work isn't over yet. Were committed to building a Public Art program that is reflective of Calgary's needs, accessible to all and makes your life better, every day.

Read our current Public Art Policy (under review).