AFA 2021-22 Spending Plan

Date: Jun 25, 2021

A Message from AFA Board Chair Mary Rozsa de Coquet

I am pleased to share with the arts community that the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) Board of Directors has approved its 2021-22 spending plan based on our current provincial allocation of $25.6 million.

Once again, I want to emphasize that the AFA recognizes and acknowledges the continuing challenges artists, arts workers, and arts organizations are experiencing as the pandemic stretches on. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we are all waiting hopefully for gathering restrictions to be completely  lifted and in-person events to resume.

We also know that there is much work that remains to be done. As we start to emerge from the shade of the pandemic, the work of relaunch and recovery will begin in earnest: we all understand that it is not quite as simple as just flicking a switch.

It will take time and care to reengage with audiences, and to restart the engines of production and exhibition. We will also need to time to reflect and uncover new understandings about our new artistic realities after COVID-19.

The AFA will be with the community each step of the way during this process.

Our spending priorities 2021-22 fiscal year are to continue to maintain predictable and stable support for Alberta’s arts organizations, and to continue to provide opportunities for individual artists. Adjustments have been made to assessment metrics to account for the impact of the 2020 “COVID year”. We will also continue to maintain the AFA Art Collection, we will engage in key research and communications activities, and I am especially pleased that the AFA will begin to implement its Pluralism policy this year.

As you are aware, the AFA continues to operate in difficult financial circumstances, for which we made every consideration to minimise impacts on our clients and grant recipients. To ensure we struck the right balance, we wanted to hear directly from clients and stakeholders this year about their challenges, needs, and expectations.

In April, we conducted targeted stakeholder engagement sessions to help inform our spending plan. While widespread engagement was not possible due to our compressed timelines to develop our plan, I am pleased we were able to talk with 91 members of the arts community over seven virtual engagement sessions.

To increase transparency and to help fulfill the AFA’s commitment to evidence-based planning, we have published a summary of what the AFA heard from this engagement process. I encourage all artists, arts workers and other stakeholders and organizations that are connected to the AFA and our programs to read the full report.

Our board and staff look forward to conducting deeper analysis on this report and to develop strategies, which may include program adjustments, to more fully align with the evolving needs of our sector. We are committed to continue to engage with our clients and stakeholders to ensure we are as responsive as possible.

Mary Rozsa de Coquet, Chair

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