In a natural disaster, the effects on people’s homes and material lives is a bad enough result. Inevitably, though, a person will be even more affected by the loss of the ephemerals that constitute their lives: a picture, a musical instrument, some family memento.
As the city of Calgary struggles to reclaim its downtown, venues normally used by arts organizations will become crucial gathering points to foster the sense of solidarity necessary to rebuilding and morale. And, just as individuals need help in rebuilding their lives through disaster relief funds, so too do the arts groups that bring a community together.
Waterloo-based Igloo Software has built a site called Alberta Arts Rebuild to help coordinate those efforts. Aside from providing a focal point for updates and coordination, the site is also linked to a crowdfunding page set up by Calgary Arts Funding via InvestYYC, a Calgary-specific arts funding site.
The Alberta Arts Rebuild Page brings together 37 arts organizations, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Writers’ Guild, the Alberta Museums Association and Theatre Alberta, to coordinate and accelerate the rebuilding process.
“Arts organizations in southern Alberta are experiencing both short- and long-term impact from the devastating 2013 floods,” said Terry Rock, President and CEO of Calgary Arts Development. “Over 30 agencies are attempting to collaborate across the province to find solutions, and we needed an online platform to help facilitate this work.”
Arts organizations struggle, even during economic boom times, to maintain functional office space to administer the nuts-and-bolts tasks associated with staging events, operating venues and preserving archives. In the two weeks following the flooding, Calgary Arts Development received 108 reports of losses from both arts organizations and individual artists.
“When Terry reached out to explain their collaboration challenges, we jumped at the opportunity to participate because we’re ideally suited for those facing compressed timelines, silos of information, tight budgets and dispersed teams,” said Dan Latendre, CEO of Igloo Software.
Donations made to the Alberta Arts Rebuild page will be matched by Suncor Energy Foundation up to $50,000, in addition to an initial $50,000 the foundation has already donated. Donations made through the AlbertaArtsRebuild.ca website are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.
At press time, the Alberta Arts Flood Project had raised just over $132,000, or 26% of its goal.