Alberta Foundation for the Arts
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The Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA), based in Edmonton, is a crown agency of the Government of Alberta. As the primary arts funding body in Alberta, it plays a key role in supporting the Spirit of Alberta, Alberta’s Cultural Policy. The AFA exists to fund, encourage, and support the development of the arts as a valuable contributor to quality of life in Alberta and, to develop the AFA art collection as a cultural resource for all Albertans.
The AFA was founded in 1991. Its mandate is to support and contribute to the development of the arts in Alberta. It brought under its mandate: the Alberta Art Foundation, the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Literary Arts, and the arts and cultural grant programs of Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism. The AFA is governed by a Board of Directors.
The AFA reports annually to Alberta’s Minister of Culture and Community Spirit and supports the Ministry’s business plan through its arts policy. The AFA receives an annual allocation from the Alberta Lottery Fund, which it distributes to artists and art organizations across Alberta through a variety of programs.
The granting programs are organized into the following three categories, with specific streams below:
- I. Arts Organizations: Operational
- Community Support Organizations
- Provincial Arts Service Organizations
- Community Performing Arts Organizations
- Community Presenting
- Professional Performing Arts Organizations
- Public Galleries
- Arts Presenting
- Summer School Operations
- II. Arts Organizations: Projects
- Artists and Education
- Cultural Relations
- Organizations Art Projects
- Post Secondary Institutions
- III. Individual Artists: Projects
AFA art collection
The AFA art collection, established in 1972, is the only collection of its kind dedicated to showcasing the development of Alberta’s visual arts achievements. Art maintenance and conservation ensures that the handling, preparation and preservation of artwork are conducted according to museum and archival standards.
The collection contains over 8,000 works of art and is valued at over $10 million. More than 1,700 Alberta artists, many of whom are historically important individuals in the growth of the visual arts in Alberta, are represented in this collection. The AFA also hosts a virtual art museum.
Travelling Exhibition Program
Since the program's introduction during Alberta's 75th Anniversary Celebrations in 1980, the AFA has supported a provincial Traveling Exhibition (TREX) program. The TREX program strives to ensure every Albertan is provided with an opportunity to enjoy a visual arts exhibition in their community. The TREX program allows exhibitions from the Alberta art collection to be hosted in communities throughout Alberta. Venues include public libraries, schools, post-secondary institutions, hospitals and health care facilities, community halls and tourism centers. The TREX program also offers educational support material for educators to integrate visual arts into the school curriculum.
Four regional organizations now coordinate the program for the AFA:
- The Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie - Northwest Alberta
- Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton - Northeast and North Central Alberta
- Alberta Society of Artists, Calgary - Southwest Alberta
- Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre, Medicine Hat - Southeast Alberta
Arts promotion and capacity building
The AFA supports the arts through various promotional strategies such as Alberta Culture Days which activities help to generate awareness of the arts with both the public and key stakeholders. This is overseen by the Premier's Council for the Arts  Also, the AFA strives to build capacity among Alberta artists and art organizations by providing expert consulting support and grant application advice. These resources are used to build stronger, more sustainable arts organizations.
- Alberta Foundation for the Arts
- Alberta Foundation for the Arts Art Collection
- Alberta Foundation for the Arts Grant programming
- AFA at Facebook
- The Spirit of Alberta – Alberta’s Cultural Policy
- TREX Program: Monthly Venue Map