Reserving Creativity for Artists

Edmonton Arts Council provides 121 artists with a total of $643,000 to invest in creativity thanks to a grant from Edmonton Community Foundation. 

Periods of change often spark creativity and COVID-19 has brought plenty of change to artists.

The arts sector was one of the first sectors affected when the pandemic hit. Festivals and shows were cancelled and artists became jobless.

Depending on their type of practice, most artists have come to a standstill. When there’s no audience or platform available for them to show off their work, there’s no compensation. Not being able to produce work has also taken a toll on artists. While some artists have been able to profit off their work online, live performers are facing challenges.

Edmonton Arts Council (EAC) immediately began searching for a way to help out the arts sector. EAC is an independent charitable agency that manages arts activity and investment relationships on behalf of the City of Edmonton.

“The arts community has been heavily impacted and a lot of what the arts are about is bringing people together to reflect and celebrate,” said Stephen Williams, Director of Grants, Awards, and Support Programs at EAC. “We saw a clear need for artists to have the opportunity to pursue their work in the midst of this pandemic environment.”

EAC set up the Creators’ Reserve stream, thanks to a $20,000 grant from Edmonton Community Foundation.

The funds will allow artists to explore, develop and create new artistic work or to substantially revise an existing piece of work.

More than 600 artist applications were received for the Creators’ Reserve grant. So far, 121 successful applicants have been contacted with a total of $643,000 given out.

“The Creators’ Reserve underlines the benefits of having great partners,” says Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement. “Edmonton Arts Council was undertaking their response to the pandemic, and ECF could support that work with confidence in their ability to effectively serve our community.”

ECF seeded the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF) on March 25 with $500,000 of its discretionary dollars. Since then, the RRF has exceeded a million dollars to allocate to Edmonton’s charitable organizations, thanks to contributions from donors and the wider community.

Artists who received the Creators’ Reserve funds will be able to invest their time into pursuing a wide range of creative projects during this difficult time.

“We love the Edmonton Community Foundation,” Williams said. “We have been partners with the Community Foundation for a long time and not just on this. We value that real partnership that we have with the Community Foundation. We hope that continues.”

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.