Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Coordinates: 51°10′19″N 115°33′42″W / 51.171843°N 115.561677°W / 51.171843; -115.561677
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Banff Centre)
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
MottoInspiring Creativity
TypeArts, cultural, and educational institution and conference complex
Academic affiliation
University of Calgary
PresidentChris Lorway
Location, ,
CampusTunnel Mountain in Banff National Park

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Formerly The Banff Centre) is an arts and culture educational institution in Banff, Alberta. It offers arts programs in the performing and fine arts, as well as leadership training. It was established in 1933 as the Banff School of Drama. It was granted full autonomy as a non-degree granting post-secondary educational institution in 1978.[1] Banff Centre is a member of the Alberta Rural Development Network.[2]

On June 23, 2016, Banff Centre announced a new name: Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.[3]


Group at Banff School of Fine Arts, August 1937. University of Alberta Archives, UAA-1969-097-200c
Group at Banff School of Fine Arts, August 1937. University of Alberta Archives, UAA-1969-097-200c

The centre was founded in 1933 by the University of Alberta,[4] with a grant from the U.S.-based Carnegie Foundation. Elizabeth Sterling Haynes, Theodore and Eliot Cohen, Gwillym Edwards, and Gwen Pharis served as the centre's first employees, with Haynes and Cohen teaching approximately 230 students that first summer.[5] Initially only a single course in drama was offered.[6]

In 1934, the centre established their special children's drama division and hired instructors Wallace House, Roy Mitchell, and Jocelyn Taylor Mitchell. During the 1935 summer school, the students performed Relief by Minnie Bicknell.[5]

In 1935 the centre became known as The Banff School of Fine Arts.[6] The Carnegie grant that initial funded the centre was suspended from August to December 1935 to be assessed by the Carnegie Foundation. The grant was renewed for two years, though the Foundation recommended the University of Alberta should assume financial responsibility at the end of that term.[5]

As arts programming continued to succeed and develop, conferences were introduced in 1953 and management programs in 1954. The facility was renamed The Banff Centre for Continuing Education (The Banff Centre for short) in 1970. The centre was granted full autonomy as a non-degree granting educational institution under the governance of a board of directors by the Province of Alberta in 1978.[6]

The centre is now affiliated with the University of Calgary, which became its trustee and a significant student feeder in 1966.

In the mid-1990s, in response to a cut in its provincial operating grant, the centre launched a capital campaign (The Creative Edge). Proceeds were used to develop conference and arts facilities, which opened in 1996. The centre was designated as a National Training Institute by the federal government in 1999, and became home to the Banff International Research Station in 2003. The centre's name was officially changed to "The Banff Centre" in 2008, and to the "Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity" in 2016.[1]

On June 11, 2020, the institution laid off 284 staff members via Zoom.[7] The lay off subsequently sparked an open letter from several prominent artists, curators, arts figures, alumni and current and former staff expressing concern for the institution's commitment to values supporting its visual arts programming and operations.[8]


Programs include residencies, workshops, practicum programs, the Leighton Artists' Studios (an artist retreat opened by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on 20 August 1985[9]), and the multidisciplinary Banff Summer Arts Festival.

  • Creative Residencies artist-in-residence programs
  • Thematic residencies
  • Banff Artist in Residence programs
  • Film and media
  • Visual arts
  • Theatre arts
  • Music and sound
  • Literary arts
  • Indigenous arts
  • Leighton Artists' Studios
  • Leadership development
  • Dissemination


In 2013, the centre applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to acquire two tourist information radio stations serving the area, CFPE-FM and CFPF-FM, from Friends of Banff National Park Fellowship, and to launch an additional new station, CJXB-FM. Under the Banff Centre's ownership, the existing stations would be expanded to incorporate some community radio talk and information programming,[10] while the new CJXB would program an adult album alternative music format.[11] The approval to acquire CFPE and CFPF from the Friends of Banff was granted on July 19, 2013,[12] while the new station was approved on August 6, 2013.[13]

The centre formally launched its new community radio programming on the existing stations in June 2014.[10]

By 2015, however, CJXB had still not launched when the Banff Centre decided to discontinue all three radio stations in order to focus on a podcasting strategy.[14][15] The CRTC revoked the CFPE and CFPF licenses on April 10, 2015.[16]


Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity facilities offer resources to support artists of all disciplines. Facilities include a writers' lounge and the Library and Archives. The Leighton Artists' Studios has nine studio cottages.

The centre also operates the Walter Phillips Gallery, an art museum located within the Banff Centre. In addition to its arts programming, conferences were introduced in 1953 and management programs in 1954. Banff Centre hosts 500 conferences a year, with proceeds dedicated to supporting arts programming. In 2003, it became host to the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery.



  1. ^ a b "History of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity". Banff Centre. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  2. ^ "List of sponsors". Alberta Rural Education Symposium. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  3. ^ "The Creative Voice: Our Strategic Plan 2016–2021". Banff Centre. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  4. ^ Colombo, John Robert (1984). Canadian Literary Landmarks. Willowdale, Ontario, Canada: Hounslow Press. p. 247. ISBN 0-88882-073-9.
  5. ^ a b c Day, Moira; Potts, Marilyn (1987). "Elizabeth Sterling Haynes: Initiator of Alberta Theatre". Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches théâtrales Au Canada. 8 (1).
  6. ^ a b c Lederman, Marsha (2021-01-09). "Banff Centre beset by turbulence – and not just because of the pandemic". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
  7. ^ "Banff Centre permanently lays off 284 staff, cancels in-person classes | CBC News".
  8. ^ "Concern Rises Regarding Banff Centre Layoffs, Visual Arts Cutbacks".
  9. ^ "History of the Studios". Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Banff Centre Radio goes live next week" Archived 2016-12-20 at the Wayback Machine. Rocky Mountain Outlook, June 19, 2014.
  11. ^ Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-154, CRTC, March 26, 2013 (See 6 and 7)
  12. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-345, CFPE-FM and CFPF-FM Banff - Acquisition of assets, CRTC, July 19, 2013
  13. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-368: English-language FM radio station in Banff. CRTC, August 6, 2013.
  14. ^ "Banff Centre Radio going off air" Archived 2016-12-20 at the Wayback Machine. The Crag and Canyon, February 26, 2015.
  15. ^ Banff Centre Radio suspending operations, will focus on podcasts. CBC News, February 24, 2015.
  16. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-140, CFPF-FM Banff - Revocation of licence, CRTC, April 10, 2015
  17. ^ "Valri a Star By Own Definition". The Province. July 2, 1976. p. 35. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  18. ^ Lilwall, Scott (17 February 2016). "How Juno + Grammy Winner Shawn Everett Shaped Alabama Shakes' Album". Banff Centre. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  19. ^ Patch, Nick (July 13, 2014). "Vancouver-raised 'Breaking Bad' scribe celebrates Emmy nod for beloved episode". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

51°10′19″N 115°33′42″W / 51.171843°N 115.561677°W / 51.171843; -115.561677