Presenting arts plan

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Terry Rock, president and CEO of Calgary Arts Development, had a specific goal in mind for the presentation of the Calgary Arts Plan update at Calgary city council on June 5. He wanted enough supporters to show up at city council that they’d be forced to move the meeting from the Engineering Traditions Conference Room, which holds about 60 people, into the council chambers.

Rock wanted 200 to 300 people.He succeeded.

The audience on Wednesday filled the council chambers until dozens of supporters were standing at the back and sitting on the stairs. Over capacity, council had to move people into an overflow room — back to the Engineering Traditions Conference Room.

On the Monday before the council meeting, Rock spoke during a report to the community at Theatre Junction Grand providing a sample of the integrated arts development strategy draft.

“We get a chance as a community to come to city council and show that this is a movement,” Rock said, “that we have a voice and that we can be leaders in this community. It really is important to take this opportunity to do that.”

Despite the Calgary Arts Development presentation being delayed over three hours, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m., the council chambers were still nearly filled when Rock and Pat Schneider, vice-chair of Calgary Arts Development, presented the development strategy to council.

“Yes I am here, but what I am talking to you about is not my opinion,” Rock said while addressing council members, “it is the voices of thousands of Calgarians that we have engaged over the past few years.”

The integrated arts development strategy outlines how Calgary Arts Development, arts organizations, government and communities throughout the city will work together to promote participation in the arts and continue Calgary’s role as a cultural centre of Canada in the years to come.

The project will do this through five main goals: by ensuring arts education and opportunities exist for Calgarians under the age of 18, developing creative art communities that make involvement in the arts part of daily life in Calgary, inspiring a local environment that will encourage emerging creative talent, extending the work of Calgary’s professional artists internationally and developing a downtown arts district.

Rock has been leading the development of Calgary’s Arts Plan since it began in 2012 as part of Calgary’s Cultural Capital of Canada year. Rock admitted during the presentation to council that it would be the last presentation he does as president and CEO of Calgary Arts Development as it was announced in January that he will be stepping down from the position this year.