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Alex Sarian in Calgary's Olympic Plaza

For over three decades, Arts Commons has been the heart of Calgary’s Cultural District, bringing the arts to the lives of Calgarians and visitors alike.

When it opened in 1985, Arts Commons put Calgary on the map as home to one of the largest performing arts centres in North America. Originally designed to serve a city with a population of 500,000 residents, Arts Commons quickly reached its goal of welcoming 300,000 patrons annually by providing an affordable, centrally-located home for three world-class resident companies. For over 35 years, Arts Commons has contributed to the social, economic, cultural, and intellectual life and well-being of Calgarians. 

Today, it is the largest performing arts centre in Western Canada and remains the third largest in the country, annually serving approximately 600,000 patrons and a large diversity of communities: 

  • engaging 43,000 students and teachers in educational programming, 
  • employing over 1,800 artists,
  • hosting over 400,000 patrons at ticketed events and 
  • over 150,000 patrons at free events. 
  • Arts Commons also provides a safe space for visual artists to learn, grow, and exhibit their works in public galleries and studios throughout the building. 

Arts Commons is now home to six resident companies (Alberta Theatre Projects, Arts Commons Presents, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Downstage, One Yellow Rabbit, and Theatre Calgary) and approximately 200 community groups that use the facility annually. 

With the ongoing growth of our community, we have maximized all available capacity to achieve revenues from our current venues, turning away hundreds of revenue-generating events every year. If we are to continue to increase earned revenues and be financially sustainable over the long term, we must add more revenue generating spaces. ACT is positioned to meet this challenge.

Learn more about the project and the positive impact it will have on our city.

“Arts Commons is the beating heart of Calgary's downtown.”

~ The Honourable Doug Black, Canadian Senator