Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism

Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism (Alberta Culture until 1987). Department established in 1975 by the government of the province of Alberta.

Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism

Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism (Alberta Culture until 1987). Department established in 1975 by the government of the province of Alberta. Prior to that date the development of the arts in the province had been the responsibility of the Alberta Cultural Development Branch, established in 1946, and its successor, 1971-5, the Cultural Development Branch of the Dept of Culture, Youth and Recreation, which in October 1971 helped establish the Alberta Music Conference. The conference was designed to act as a liaison between the music community and the provincial government, advising the latter in matters of legislation and programs relating to music. It also published six issues of an informative quarterly bulletin, Music in Alberta, edited by Gerald Moran. Presidents of the conference, which became inactive in 1974 and dissolved in 1978, were Richard Johnston and Robert Cook.

Ministers responsible for culture have been Horst A. Schmid 1971-9, Mary LeMessurier 1979-86, Dennis Anderson 1986-8, and Greg Stevens 1988-90, succeeded by Douglas Main.

The ensuing description, though given in the present tense, applied to the state of the dept in 1979. The activities of Alberta Culture are funded entirely by the provincial government. Through its Cultural Development Division the department provides groups and individuals with opportunities and resources. Regional representatives throughout Alberta meet with arts and community organizations, including municipal councils, recreational boards, and schools, to provide information and assistance to local cultural programs. The division's Arts Branch (whose director in 1991 was Clive Padfield) contributes to dance, drama, and music in the province through a number of programs. This branch provides educational consultants to local groups and sponsors clinics, workshops, conferences, and special summer courses such as those offered at the Provincial Music School at Camrose. It publishes an annual catalogue of performing artists in Alberta, maintains an inventory of artists and sponsoring organizations, provides assistance in the co-ordination of tours, and runs an artists-in-the-community program which often includes clinics and concerts for schools. Operational grants are offered to provincial festival associations and to amateur and professional performing groups; 'Cultural Assistance' awards to individuals for further study and improvement of skills; grants to provincial representative organizations, to national organizations which benefit Alberta artists (such as the ACO, the Canadian Association of Youth Orchestras, the Canadian Music Centre, and the NYO) and to national projects such as EMC; touring and travel grants to groups and individuals and to communities wishing to sponsor series of performances; subsidies to educational institutions; and grants to artists wishing to participate in national and international competitions, conferences, and festivals. Special project grants and loans also are available.

Annually, in recognition of outstanding contributions, Alberta Culture bestows Alberta Achievement Award. Among those whose activities in the field of music have been so honoured are the Anne Campbell Singers, Violet Archer, Hugh Bancroft, Tommy Banks, James Campbell, Dick Damron, the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, Gaby Haas, Uri Mayer, Leonard Leacock, Clarence 'Big' Miller, One Third Ninth, Robert Pounder, Thomas Rolston, Ranald Shean, Hank Smith, R. Harlan Smith, Olaf Sveen, Huguette Tourangeau, and Bernard Turgeon. In 1977, in conjunction with the Canada Council Touring Office, the department sponsored the first annual 'Alberta Showcase,' a conference of workshops and performances attended by artists, managers, and sponsors.

Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism publications have included annual reports, the first of which appeared in 1976, and Performing Arts Newsletter, which appeared several times a year 1976-9

In addition to the support provided by existing programs, assistance to the arts is available through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Known as the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts until 1991, the foundation was established by the provincial government in 1978, and has been funded by the Western Canada Lottery (Alberta Division). It offers aid to those projects which do not fall into categories set by Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism and is interested particularly in programs which will increase awareness of the arts, conduct research into the arts and arts administration, provide opportunities for artists to gain national and/or international recognition, and encourage co-ordinated and/or co-operative administrative support of arts activities.


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