artsPlace Community Consultation Update


In the fall of 2018, artsPlace embarked on a comprehensive community consultation process with these three goals in mind:

• To assess support for existing programs being offered;
• To assess support for future programming options;
• To address potential barriers to program participation.

The first stage of the consultation included two surveys to engage the public in current and future program planning. One short survey (10 questions) was distributed at artsPlace as well as at various public events, another long survey (24 questions) was distributed online.

The second and final stage of the consultation included three focus groups which targeted audiences who were underrepresented in the public survey. These focus groups included men from the Bow Valley, youth aged 13-17, and young adults aged 18-34.

The community consultation concluded in February 2019. In total, 369 short surveys and 770 long surveys were completed, and 34 community members participated in focus groups.

In all, we are overwhelmed by the community’s positive response to artsPlace as the hub for art education and celebration, and we are immensely grateful for the passion and dedication with which community members choose to engage with arts and creativity in its many various forms. We look forward to working together with Bow Valley residents to build on our successes and continue to fill the needs of this creative community.


Current Programming

“I would like to thank the whole team at artsPlace for what is being created: a hub of creativity, community building and education.”
– 2018 community survey respondent

Respondents rated artsPlace very highly in all aspects of programming delivery.

• Movies and live performances are popular with all demographic groups.
• Respondents aged 18-34 were most interested in ceramics, visual arts, Indigenous programs, crafts, live performances and movies.
• Respondents aged 35-49 were most interested in drama and family focused programs.
• Respondents aged 65+ were most interested in movies, live performances, and fibre arts.
• Live performances, movies, visual arts and photography were of most interest to men.
• Youth aged 13-17 showed a high level of interest in crafts, ceramics, photography, painting and theatre production.
• Indigenous programming was requested multiple times by different demographics.

Future Programming

“artsPlace is a comfortable, non-intimidating place where I have had the opportunity to try things I never would have otherwise.”
– 2018 community survey respondent

Some of the programs not currently offered at artsPlace that received a high level of interest are:

• Woodworking
• Glasswork
• Digital arts and film editing
• Professional development

Respondents who had never attended programs at artsPlace were highly interested in programs that are not currently offered. Respondents who were interested in young adult programming and respondents aged 18-34 were more interested than average in all the proposed new programming options.

Barriers to attending programs

“artsPlace has become a positive and enriching hub in our town.”
– 2018 community survey respondent

Barriers addressed in the survey and in the focus groups included:

• A lack of familiarity with artsPlace programs
• A lack of time and scheduling conflicts
• Being new to town or a visitor
• Program affordability

Ultimately, Bow Valley residents have many options of what to do with their free time. There is a definite interest in creating art and exploring creativity, especially if it can be done on a casual basis. One-off workshops that end with a tangible result are in high demand as a low-commitment introduction to new forms of expression.

Community Ideas

“I love having artsPlace in our community! I’m frequently surprised by the caliber of performers that we are able to see up close, live, in our intimate venue.”
– 2018 community survey respondent

Some of the ideas that emerged from the survey and focus groups included:

• An art pass
Various demographics were interested in a loyalty program or a 10-punch pass for artsPlace. An “art sampler pack” also received interest to allow people to purchase a pass for a specific number of classes across mediums and topics. 

• Community partnerships
Focus group participants largely saw artsPlace as a collaborative member of the community and suggested partnerships with other community organizations to offer cross-memberships or a community discount program. 

• Event calendar
A calendar to showcase “this month at artsPlace” was suggested as a useful tool for the community to get a better picture of the breadth of programs offered at artsPlace. 

• Open studio time
Program flexibility and ability to work on your own time in artsPlace studios was considered important by many demographics, especially young adults. 

• Integrated programming
There was broad interest from focus group participants for combining art mediums and topics in a program. Suggestions in this area included interactive movie evenings that are attended by the filmmaker, as well as more elaborate scenarios.

• Collaborative productions
Youth focus group participants were keenly interested in large, community art projects that engaged multiple mediums. 

If you'd like to learn more about what happened at artsPlace in 2018, click here to read our Annual Report!

To read the full community consultation report, prepared by public engagement consultant Sarah Elmeligi, click here.