Three-year funding x four grants =...

Date: Jul 19, 2016

To celebrate 25 years of the AFA, we’re taking a look back at how we came to be, favourite milestones, and some of the amazing artists we’ve encountered along the way.  

By Barb Mah, Arts Development Consultant

The Alberta Ballet performing Black Swan in 2012, via

The Alberta Ballet, Beaverlodge Cultural Society, the Edmonton Fringe Festival… what do these organizations have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re all bursting with talented artists, they also benefit from the AFA’s three-year funding cycle.

Three years ago, the AFA piloted a three-year operating grant cycle through the Professional Performing Arts Operating (PPAO) grant. This allowed the organizations to budget on a longer cycle, thus empowering them to plan and project operating costs with more efficiency. Since then, other operating streams have moved into this mode of funding including the Public Art Galleries, Provincial Arts Service Organizations and most recently, Major Arts Presenting.

For the organizations in these grant streams, benefits of three-year funding includes more long-term planning, budgeting and forecasting on the part of the organizations, plus the simplified reporting that takes place in years two and three. Instead of having to fill in arduous application forms each year as well as providing final reports (which they had to do in the past), organizations now fill in simplified one-page reports. This frees them to spend more time providing arts events and programming to you!

Let’s break these grants down a bit:

Professional Performing Arts

The Citadel Theatre via Explore Edmonton

PPAO grants assist recipient organizations in the pursuit of excellence in their artistic mandates and governance practices while providing support in the development of their organizational capacity.

For example, the Citadel Theatre is one of North America’s largest not-for-profit theatres, and a PPAO grant recipient. The Citadel is a complex of five performance spaces in downtown Edmonton. They feature an outreach performance series each year known as Beyond the Stage, designed to encourage people who have not encountered much live theatre to come into the Citadel and experience various forms of entertainment beyond conventional theatre offerings. (via

Other examples of PPAO recipients are the Alberta Ballet, the Edmonton Symphony OrchestraEdmonton OperaCalgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Theatre Calgary.

Professional Art Galleries

Crowsnest Pass Public Art Gallery via website

The Public Art Galleries Operating grant stream ensures that Albertans have access to visual arts through the work of recipient organizations.

The Crowsnest Pass Public Art Gallery is one of our PAG recipients. Crowsnest Pass Allied Arts Association, a charitable, non-profit organization, manages the Art Gallery. The gallery provides rotational monthly exhibitions of local, provincial and national art, art programs for adults and children, as well as many special events throughout the year. The Gallery also organizes exhibits at the local Stone's Throw Cafe. (via

This grant stream provides funding which creates full-time employment opportunities for arts administrators, and supports professional fees paid to artists.

Other PAG recipients include the Art Gallery of AlbertaAllied Arts Council of Lethbridge, and Beaverlodge Area Cultural Society.

Major Arts Presenting

Calgary International Children's Festival via Calgary Herald

The Major Arts Presenting (MAP) grant stream is integral to the AFA’s support of the arts in Alberta. This grant stream provides funding in three-year cycles to eligible professional organizations that present public presentations of arts disciplines, in support of programming, administrative and operating expenses.

This includes organizations like Calgary International Children’s Festival, for example.

The Calgary International Children’s Festival has grown to become one of the most prominent arts festivals of its kind in Canada and the largest presenter of performing arts for young people in Calgary. Over 60,000 parents, children, and teachers attend the festival each year.

The organization currently employs more than 120 performing artists, administrative staff, technicians and theatre venue personnel and enlists over 500 volunteers over the course of each year. (via

Other MAP recipients are Edmonton International Fringe Festival, the Edmonton Folk Music FestivalEdmonton International Film FestivalEdmonton Jazz Festival, and The Works.

Provincial Arts Service Organizations

A Writers' Guild of Alberta event in 2014 via

PASO grants assist recipient organizations in the pursuit of excellence in their organizational mandates and governance practices while providing support to the development and growth of their membership.

An example of a PASO we support is the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is the largest provincial writers’ organization in Canada. The Writers' Guild of Alberta formed in 1980 to provide a meeting ground and collective voice for all the writers of the province. Writers’ Guild members write in every genre and at every level of expertise. The Guild seeks to inspire, connect, support, encourage and promote writers and writing, to safeguard the freedom to write and to read, and to advocate for the well-being of writers.(via Writer's Guild of Alberta)

Other PASOs are Alberta Craft CouncilAlberta Dance AllianceArts Touring Alliance of AlbertaTheatre AlbertaRegroupement Artistique Francophone de l’Alberta (RAFA)Visual Arts Alberta - CARFAC  find funding