Engagement status: Concluded
Ministry responsible: Culture and Tourism

Overview

In the fall of 2017 and summer of 2018, the Government of Alberta met with artists from across Alberta to explore ways to recognize the important social and economic contributions artists make to the province and the quality of life of Albertans.

What we heard

Participants highlighted the challenges artists face when pursuing employment as an artist. They discussed how the provincial government could potentially recognize and raise awareness of the value of artists in Alberta, as well as enhance their economic and working conditions.

Participants particularly favoured educational initiatives to improve the recognition of artists’ contributions and increasing public value of the arts. Many participants indicated they experienced difficulties in being acknowledged for their contributions as professional artists.

Fair compensation, increased funding, and marketing and promotion initiatives were also key priorities shared by participants. Many expressed a lack of supports to succeed as an artist, and noted they would like see improved access for training and development opportunities.

Many respondents encouraged additional government support for diverse communities (particularly, but not limited to Indigenous, culturally diverse and the Deaf and disability arts communities) to address their unique needs and additional barriers to participation in the arts.

The online survey responses highlighted overall support for:

  • encouraging public awareness and recognition of artists and the importance of arts in society (81%)
  • supporting arts training and professional development (73%)
  • honouring pay scales of artist associations when government hires artists or purchases their work (72%)
  • marketing and promoting the goods and services of Alberta artists (67%)
  • improving government engagement with artists and arts stakeholders on issues that affect them (56%)
  • honouring minimum standards for working conditions of artist associations when government hires artists (50%)
  • establishing contract requirements when government hires artists or purchases their work (42%)

Engagement

Two rounds of engagement sessions were held with art sector stakeholders across Alberta. In total, more than 2,000 members of the arts community participated in the engagement.

  • In November of 2017, in-person sessions were held in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. A total of 116 members of the arts community participated.
  • In June 2018, in-person sessions were held in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Banff and Fort McMurray. 153 members of the arts community participated.
  • An online survey was open to everyone from May 16 to July 8, 2018, and received 2,114 responses.
  • Participants came from many disciplines, backgrounds and stages of career, including communities often under-represented in the arts.

Outcomes

  • Feedback gathered from the engagement session and online survey informed the language used in the proclamation of January as Month of the Artist in Alberta.
  • Feedback was also used in the development of Alberta’s Artist in Residence program, which is currently accepting applications, with the successful artist being named in January.
  • Feedback regarding the importance of encouraging public awareness and recognition of artists and the arts inspired the decision to launch an annual public awareness campaign during the Month of the Artist in Alberta.
  • Feedback on improving government engagement with artists and arts stakeholders on issues that affect them has led to a greater understanding of the need to continue working closely with artists that will guide future decisions and processes.

Contact

Aaron Talbot
Arts Services Consultant - Communications
Arts Services, Culture and Tourism
Phone: 780-644-7588
Email: Aaron Talbot