Alberta’s government is investing $13 million in the Stabilize Program to help non-profit arts and culture organizations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
One-time grant funding through the Stabilize Program’s Adapt and Innovate stream will empower arts and culture non-profits to rebuild, reopen and offer live experiences. During the pandemic 92 per cent of Albertans indicate that the arts, culture, multiculturalism and sport are significant contributors to their quality of life.
“Live events are critical to our quality of life and our province’s economic recovery,” Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women said in a news release. “As Alberta reopens, we are enabling non-profit organizations to develop creative solutions that will support their long-term sustainability and help them get back to hosting the live events Albertans are craving. By bringing back live events across the province, we will protect and promote our cultural identity, support tourism and local economies and help restore community vibrancy.”
The Adapt and Innovate funding allocates $10 million to support non-profit organizations that are the primary organizers of a live experience event or that own and/or operate a live experience venue. Eligibility includes non-profits that organize arts, cultural, festival or sporting live experience events. Eligibility also includes non-profit owners and/or operators of community halls, cultural centres and museums, along with sport, arts, cultural and agricultural society venues.
Non-profit organizations may use Adapt and Innovate stream funds for projects to better allow them to resume in-person live experiences. Projects could include developing new funding, operating or event models. Non-profits can also use funding for projects to build their digital capability, such as new systems for online bookings, virtual queuing, reserved seating or simultaneous online and in-person performances. Qualifying organizations will be eligible for a grant of up to $75,000. Priority will go to smaller organizations and to organizations whose events are produced in Alberta. The deadline to apply is July 29.
In 2019, Alberta’s live-experience sector contributed $698.9 million to the province’s gross domestic product and supported 14,060 jobs in Alberta. Between 2014 and 2018, the live experience sector grew by 17 per cent.
Live experience events also generate economic activity through out-of-town tourism, at an average of $10 million in economic impact for larger events. According to Statistics Canada, every $1 million in output from live performance businesses generates about 17 direct and indirect jobs in the province.
“On behalf of Arts Commons, our Resident Companies, the artists that call our stages ‘home’ and the hundreds of thousands of Albertans who depend on us for cultural experiences that elevate what it means to be Canadian, I want to thank the Government of Alberta for their ongoing and extraordinary support of the arts and live events sector,” Alex Sarian, president and CEO of the Arts Commons said. “As our vaccination rates increase, so too does the hunger to reconnect with each other, and the Stabilize Program is uniquely designed to help us meet this incredible demand safely, responsibly and innovatively.”
This second phase of Stabilize Program funding also includes $3 million in matching funding allocated to non-profits that host live experiences or own and/or operate live experience venues. The government will approve and match donations dollar-for-dollar on a first-come, first-served basis until the $3 million is allocated.
Announced on Jan. 28, the first phase of the Stabilize Program provides one-time operational grant funding to support the reopening of live experience presenting and performing arts and sport organizations. This funding will help these organizations offset financial losses due to cancelled games and events. In addition to four organizations that received funding through donation matching, more than 100 organizations have received funding through the first phase of the Stabilize Program’s grant application process.