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A political pat on the back from the arts community

By DJ Kelly February 21, 2008

I’d like to take a moment to actually pat a politician on the back. I don’t do this very often so please savour the moment… ah… yes…

Yesterday Calgary City Council made a very smart move – a move that looks to the future instead of just fixing the here and now. Calgary Arts Development says, “yesterday Council ear-marked 5% of the province’s $3.3 billion infrastructure contribution for arts & culture space in the city. This amounts to $165 million in civic funding for arts and culture space over the next 10 years. Much of this support will be directed towards projects brought forward by Calgary Arts Development though the Arts Space Assessment Process.”

This is fantastic news. I am a huge proponent of budgeting via percentages (i.e. policing gets 10% of our revenues, waterworks gets 15%, etc). So to see city council ear-mark 5% to arts and cultural spaces is indeed a very positive thing. Usually we have to fight to get even 1% of any governmental budget to be ear-marked for anything designed to improve quality of life for Calgarians.

So again, a big thank you to each and ever alderman who saw this investment as an opportunity to not only fix a current problem (extreme lack of available space for cultural activity) but to look to the future (making Calgary a world-wide cultural beacon).