Updated: Mar 30, 2021
by Simon Mallett
The killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May has re-ignited conversations around the need for equity and anti-racism actions in order to address systemic racism that exists within many institutions globally.
These conversations have been active in Calgary, including within the arts community. Some outcomes are starting to emerge, as Calgary City Council announced the Anti-Racism Capacity-Building Fund, and Calgary Arts Development has been hosting Anti-Racism Town Halls, while artists throughout the community have spoken bravely about the racism and injustice they've experienced as members of the Calgary arts community. While there is a great deal of work to be done in order to address the full scope of issues, one of the recurring themes that has emerged in many of these conversations is the need for more opportunities for Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) leaders to hold positions of power within arts organizations, as well as the need to create pathways for meaningful mentorship and experience-building for that to happen. In specific response to addressing that need, the Rozsa Foundation has introduced a new Arts Leaders Residency Grant. This grant is to support mid-career IBPOC artists and arts administrators who aspire to leadership roles in the arts (Artistic Directors, Executive Directors, Curators, Managing Directors, etc.) to undertake a year-long residency with an existing arts organization. This grant stream supports a flexible approach to high-impact, leadership-focused learning, with direct mentorship from the artistic and/or executive leadership of the host organization. The grant provides $20,000 to support a part-time position for one year, and the residency should be co-designed between the resident and the host organization, with the resident's specific goals at the centre. The Rozsa Foundation worked with Jenna Rodgers, Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre, to develop an initial draft of the guidelines, then sought feedback from a number of IBPOC leaders in the community, which significantly enhanced and reshaped the grant design. We are immensely grateful to them all for their work on this grant. The first intake deadline for the IBPOC Arts Leaders Residency Grant is Friday, September 18th. As the grant was only released last week, we recognize the tight turnaround for this first deadline, but following our initial intake, guidelines will be revised as necessary and another intake will be set for early 2021. Please check out the full guidelines at rozsafoundation.org/ibpoc-arts-leaders-residency-grants, and please send any questions or feedback you have to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Rozsa Foundation is also undertaking internal anti-racism training in the months ahead, and are engaged in conversations with other funders on effective ways to hold other arts organizations accountable in their own anti-racism work. We also welcome conversations about other ways in which we can support this critical work within the arts community.