Calgary has been designated a cultural capital of Canada for 2012, an honour to be shared with the Niagara Region (in part to re-enact the War of 1812, which the Conservatives are crazy about). The annual Cultural Capitals program provides federal funding for arts and culture programs in designated communities. The announcement was made today by Lee Richardson, MP for Calgary Centre.
As a Cultural Capital, the city qualifies for a $1.625 million federal grant. The money will contribute to promoting and expanding Calgary’s existing arts scene.
“There’s a slough of programs, many of them are about bringing the community together in celebration of our culture…There are two distinct grant programs, one of which is live right now, looking for individual artists and cultural organizations,” says Karen Ball, executive director for Calgary 2012.
Calgary’s bid was successful in part because 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of several landmark cultural institutions, including the Calgary Stampede, the public library system, the Pumphouse and the Grand Theatre. Ball also points to the recent achievements of local artists and companies that have put the city on the arts map; nationally and internationally.
“The Alberta Ballet is a good example of that — the Elton John ballet, Sara McLachlan ballet and Joni Mitchell. Calgary Opera, which has been creating new operatic works. It’s the first in Canada to start creating new operatic works, so that’s really exciting,” she says.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said of the announcement, “this is the first realization of a dream of so many Calgarians.”
A celebratory launch of the Cultural Capital year will be held in April, 2012. Events run until March 2013.