Visit Alberta.ca for updates and information on actions the government is taking to protect Albertans and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
On this page:
- New: Public Health Restrictions Easing Plan
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Useful Links (includes links to government assistance programs)
- Beware of online COVID-19 scams
Arts sector support
The AFA recognizes that it continues to be an extremely difficult time for artists and arts organizations in our province, and we remain committed to supporting members of Alberta’s arts community who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this difficult time, we encourage fair compensation and reasonable accommodations be provided for individual artists and cultural workers whose contracts and gigs are being postponed or cancelled. It is important to recognize that an artist’s income can be irregular at the best of times, and it is anticipated that the response to COVID-19 will likely be a prolonged undertaking.
Working with our partners
The health and well-bring of Alberta artists and arts organizations and the public as a whole is of primary importance to the AFA. The AFA remains in close contact with our federal and municipal partners, to share information and discuss options.
As an agency of the Government of Alberta, the AFA supports and adhere to the advice and direction provided by the Government of Alberta with regard to the COVID-19 crisis and any additional actions that may be taken to support Alberta’s arts sector.
Alberta's Public Health Restrictions Easing Plan
Effective February 8, 2021, Alberta entered into Step 1 of the Government of Alberta’s four-step framework to ease restrictions. Alberta Health is responsible for establishing and enforcing current health restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists and arts organizations are encouraged to review Alberta's "Path Forward" plan on Alberta.ca; however, a short summary of what remains restricted and what is now permited as related to the arts sector is below.
What remains restricted
Entertainment businesses and entities must remain closed. These include:
- Art galleries, libraries and museums
- Movie theatres, auditoria and concert halls
- Gyms and studios
Group performance activity for adults remains restricted:
- Performances for an audience is prohibited in any setting.
- Rehearsals and practices are permitted in outdoor settings to a maximum of 10 participants. Physical distancing and other relevant guidelines must be followed.
- Rehearsals, practices and lessons in indoor settings involving two or more are not permitted unless it is 1-to-1 with a coach or instructor.
- Lessons cannot occur in a facility that is closed under the current measures.
What restrictions have eased
There have been some easing of restrictions for school-related and limited indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance activities.
Children’s performance activities are permitted if related to school activities, such as music class. K-12 schools and post-secondary children’s sport and performance activities, such as physical education classes, can now use off-site facilities to support curriculum-related educational activities.
Lessons, practices and conditioning activities, but not games, may occur for indoor team-based minor sports/activities and school athletics. In this case, fitness activities can also applies to some dance activities.
- Can participate in any indoor group training for team sports and other activities with up to a maximum of 10 people participating (including the coach/trainers)
- Mandatory physical distance of 3 metres is maintained between participants at all times for indoor fitness activities.
- Participants can remove masks when engaged in high intensity physical exercise (any coach/trainer must remain masked at all times).
- Activities cannot occur in a facility that is closed under the current measures.
The AFA encourages its stakeholders to consult with measures and restrictions outlined at www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx. Alberta Health may update policies and protocols listed on this page without notifying the AFA.
Frequently Asked Questions
On February 25, the Alberta government announced details of its 2021-22 budget. The AFA’s 2021-22 budget allocation is $25.6 million.
While the AFA allocation for this year has been announced, it is important to note that spending decisions for AFA programs have not been made at this time. The next step is for the AFA Board of Directors to engage with the arts sector and develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.
The AFA recognizes we must be flexible to manage this time of uncertainty while still strategically investing our resources to minimize impacts to the organizations and individuals who rely on AFA funding.
If you have any additional general questions about AFA funding or support not covered below, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Immediate questions or concerns regarding a pending or existing grant should be directed to your current grant consultant.
What programs will be impacted by the reduction to the AFA’s allocation?
No spending decisions about AFA programs have been made at this time. The AFA Board of Directors will develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.
In the meantime, programs that were changed/impacted in the 2020-21 spending plan will remain in effect until further notice.
What programs were changed/impacted in the AFA's 2020-21 spending plan?
Programs that were adjusted in our 2020-21 spending plan include:
- Grant programs that primarily support travel have been suspended due to the unviable nature of these activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:
- Summer Schools project grants for activities occuring in Summer 2020 were cancelled.
- Organizations: Art Projects and Indigenous Arts Projects for Organizations programs are being reviewed and are both suspended until further notice.
Will Individual Artist Project grants be deferred again in 2021?
While program decisions for 2021-22 have not yet been made, the AFA accepted applications for Individual Artist Project grants for the March 1, 2021 deadline as in previous years.
The decision to defer funding in March 2020 was not related to the AFA’s budget allocation last year, but rather a response to the sudden arrival of COVID-19 in Alberta.
Our organization receives operational funding from the AFA. Will the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affect our grant amount in 2021-22 or future years?
The AFA will develop an approach to addressing the calculation of organizations’ eligible grant requests for future funding for those affected by COVID-19, including reduced programming and/or fund generation.
The AFA encourages all arts organizations that receive AFA operational funding to share information with us about current and anticipated impacts to your operations. Please email your grant program consultant for more information. (If you are unsure who that is, email email@example.com.)
Will our organization be required to pay back our current operating grant due to us not being able to carry out regular programming?
No, organizations will not be required to pay back existing operating grants already received. Future grants will be addressed as noted above.
Will the AFA be providing operating grant payments in quarterly installments in 2021-22?
Programs decisions, including how grant payments will need to be made this year, have not yet been determined. The AFA Board of Directors will develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.
Any additional administrative or logistical information related to grant payments will be communicated directly to funding clients.
Has the AFA made other changes to grant programs in response to COVID-19?
The AFA has updated its guidelines to expand eligibility for activities supported by the Arts Presenting Project Funding opportunity. Artist fees for live-streamed events presented are now eligible for reimbursement.
Arts Presenting grants support only live presentations, which means organizations may only submit the initial live-streamed presentation for reimbursement of artists’ fees. Costs associated with repeated or ongoing presentation of the initial event will not be eligible for reimbursement. Pre-recorded events will also not be eligible for consideration through this program.
AFA Art Collection
Will the AFA’s budget reduction impact the AFA Art Collection?
Programs decisions have not yet been made. The AFA Board of Directors will develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.
Is the AFA Art Collection still lending artwork at this time?
Artwork loans programs, previously on pause due to the public health quarantine period, have returned to limited service under current health guidelines. Staff has resumed limited art placement activity and is addressing outstanding requests for the time being to comply with physical distancing efforts recommended by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer.
If you need artwork removed, AFA staff will reach out at such time when it is safe to do so. If the artwork is not in a safe or secure location, email firstname.lastname@example.org so that staff may contact you to discuss making arrangements to have the artwork collected in a safe manner.
Is there staff available to care for artworks in the AFA Art Collection?
Yes. Staff check in daily to ensure that it is operating at optimum effectiveness for the safe care of the artworks.
How can I access the AFA Art Collection now?
The AFA Art Collection can be viewed online, at any time, through the AFA Virtual Museum. We encourage Albertans to browse through thousands of digital images of nearly every artwork in the collection.
In addition, the AFA has four curated exhibitions available for viewing on Google Arts & Culture.
Alberta is currently in Step 1 of its "A Path Forward" restrictions easement plan. In this plan, public health measures will be eased in steps based on hospitalization benchmarks. Moving between steps will happen at least 3 weeks apart to assess the impact on cases.
The government has launched the Alberta Biz Connect platform to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 begin to reopen and resume operations safely. This includes publishing and continuously updating general and sector specific guidance documents that can help you comply with public health requirements to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among staff, audiences, patrons, and customers.
- View all guidance documents.
- Guidance documents should be used in context of current restrictions in place according to "A Path Forward".
- If you have questions about the guidance documents, or if you are unsure which documents apply to your organization, please email email@example.com and we can help answer your questions.
Alberta has published Pivot Online: A Toolkit for Artists and Non-profit Organizations.
- This toolkit captures and shares the insights learned from artists and non-profit organizations who have pivoted their work online. It also provides information, resources and inspiration to help you pivot some – or all – of your operations online.
- French Version: Transition numérique : une boîte à outils pour les artistes et les organismes sans but lucratif
- There are a series of webinars available to help artists and non-profits move to a virtual work environment. View all the recordings on the Alberta Community Development YouTube Channel.
COVID-19 supports for Albertans – The government provides a list of services available for Albertans to get help, including a list of financial supports available.
Alberta emergency financial assistance – If you are facing an unexpected emergency, visit this page to learn more about applying for emergency financial assistance.
Government of Canada COVID-19 information – Learn more about COVID-19 in Canada and the Government of Canada’s response.
Canadian Heritage response to COVID-19 – The Government of Canada is taking immediate action to provide support measures and financial relief for the culture, heritage and sport sectors. Learn more about what measures are available.
Canada Council for the Arts information related to COVID-19 – Information and updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting Canada Council's programs and services, and its response.
City of Calgary's Response to Coronavirus – Learn more about supports available and the city’s ongoing response to the pandemic.
- Calgary Arts Development Information about COVID-19 – Information and updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting Calgary Arts Development's programs and services, and its response.
City of Edmonton: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Learn more about supports available and the city’s ongoing response to the pandemic.
- Edmonton Arts Council COVID-19 FAQs – Information and updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting Edmonton Art Council's programs and services, and its response.
If your venue is available for COVID19 help, please enter your information into this national Google document.
Beware of online COVID-19 scams
Cyber security incidents involving malware and fraudulent activities including identity theft are being reported across Alberta in the wake of COVID-19.
Cybercriminals are sending emails and setting up fake websites designed to trick people into clicking links that install malicious software on their computers or capture credentials and other personal information.
- Please exercise caution when clicking on links or providing personal information to people/organizations that request that information, unsolicited.
- Some online resources that appear to offer help or information related to COVID-19 might actually install malware on a computer system to disrupt regular operations or steal personal information that is stored in a user’s browser.
- For example, phishing emails claiming to be from trusted organizations are using COVID-19 in the subject line, with malicious links in the email that can damage a computer system or expose personal information.
- Such emails could be claiming to offer links to new information or to buy surgical masks or sanitizers.
- Please conduct your own research by relying on trusted sources of information, starting with Alberta.ca/covid19.