Arts Champions Congress - One Month Later

It has been just over a month since Calgary’s first Arts Champions Congress. We were thrilled with the turnout, the enthusiasm and the sheer quality of the conversation. We were overwhelmed (really!) with the great ideas that came forward. In the few weeks since the event, our team has worked together to deliver on our promise to act quickly on high impact ideas that we are able to execute. I’m really pleased that we’re doing that through today’s announcement.

Our motivation for the congress was pretty straightforward: we want to expand the circle of arts champions in Calgary. The first step? Let's increase the level of connection within the community of those who are already champions of Calgary's dynamic arts sector. The arts are an ecosystem: there are big and small players, individuals and organizations, artists, administrators, marketers, board members, and many disciplines with increasingly blurred edges. Rarely do people from these various parts of the system find each other in the same room, even though they have a common interest to see the arts thrive in our city. The ability to convene this wide group is a unique feature of Calgary Arts Development, and it is one we intend to use more in the months and years ahead.

We observed many things during the day that were inspiring and motivating. Most interesting was the tremendous desire to continue the learning that happens when peers get together. Much of our response to the congress is framed by this observation. We also saw a need and desire to make inter-generational connections for the purpose of mentorship. There's a lot of wisdom in our community, and we hope to facilitate the transmission of wisdom onto the next generation.

Speaking of the next generation... we were pleasantly surprised by the number of attendees who are starting new ventures in Calgary's arts scene. This group is hungry for knowledge and to get connected into the sector. The initiatives we're undertaking are intended to play a role in facilitating the development of this exciting next generation.

Finally, it really makes us smile when we hear of groups that were inspired by Ben Cameron's talk and his subsequent interaction with us. Ben's generosity of time and ideas has stuck with our team as well. We were able to have him speak to a smaller group at a breakfast the next day to work more specifically on plans to expand the circle of arts champions. It is safe to say that that group was inspired to go even further than they were the day before.

Plans are already forming up for the 2012 version of the Arts Champions Congress. Today, we're providing more opportunities for you to connect and learn as a community. Regardless of how you choose to engage, we are listening! Please stay in touch.

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