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Rozsa Foundation Advocacy Update

By Lisa Mackay



As a part of our strategic planning process in 2022, the Rozsa Foundation invited feedback from our community to help focus our priorities. Among the input we received was that, given our position as a private foundation, we could make an impact in taking on a greater role in advocacy to promote increased government support for the arts sector.  We agreed that this aligned with our values and vision and determined to allocate greater resources to arts advocacy.

 

We have engaged in all orders of government advocacy, from Creative Calgary municipally, to joining the Canadian Arts Coalition and working at a federal level. At the provincial level, just prior to the election we joined the Nonprofit Vote led by the CCVO and Karen Ball and ran the VoteArtsAB campaign, which resulted in over 700 letters of support for the arts sent to the leaders of Alberta’s political parties. We also engaged New West Public Affairs to help us craft and execute a budget submission for increased provincial funding to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and set up meetings with those who could advance our request.

 

Simon and I have also deepened our knowledge in the area of advocacy through professional development programs and courses. These programs have been an enormous help in learning the ins and outs of lobbying for greater governmental support for the arts and the timeline and procedures of policymaking.

 

Many in the Alberta arts community have been pushing for years for increased government investment to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and we have been participating in these efforts alongside them over the past year and a half. The recent budget announcement from the Government of Alberta was a welcome and encouraging step forward. It contains the first increases to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in six years, with additional increases planned for the next two budgets. All together, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts will grow by $13.5 million to approximately $39 million in 2026-27. The budget also shows a substantial investment in arts infrastructure across the province. We're grateful to all those whose advocacy contributed toward this welcome change over the years.

 

Looking forward, we are looking at the next steps and directions for our advocacy efforts. We intend to maintain a connection with the Ministry of Art, Culture, and the Status of Women and hope to continue to be a resource for MLAs in matters pertaining to the arts sector. We have an eye on the recent developments in the Canada Council for the Arts and will be closely involved with the Canadian Arts Coalition – a group we encourage Alberta arts organizations to learn more about and consider joining. There are signs that the Canada Council intends to address historic geographic funding inequities and we will be working to support turning those intentions into actions.

 

Since the impetus to put more focus on advocacy came from the arts community, we invite you to let us know what you find to be pressing concerns worthy of some government attention. Our work in this area is entirely for the benefit of the community, often done in partnership with people who have much more experience than we do, and we want to ensure that we are addressing the sector's priorities. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us on all things arts advocacy and arts policy!

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