New arts-based foundation looking to add a splash of creativity to Calgary

A mock-up of the art boxes that will be part of Create Calgary's first community art program. Design Document/Provided by Create Calgary

Calgary is about to get a little more creative as a new arts-focused organization launches.

The group is aiming to bring full-fledged artistic creativity to marginalized communities in the city.

Create Calgary is a new arts organization founded by entrepreneur Nathan Mizera. Launching on June 24, the goal of this group is to support minority communities through artistic creativity, inspiring individuals within those communities to lighten their homes with their talent.

Mizera is a Calgary-born artist with a background in social work. He hopes Create Calgary’s grassroots approach is more accessible for those who normally wouldn’t have access to art supplies.

“There is so much opportunity here. One of the areas we sometimes lose focus on is creativity and the arts. One thing I keep hearing, again and again, is that there is opportunity out there, but so many Calgarians are often left out,” Mizera said.  

Art box program

The first program that Create Calgary will be running is the Create Calgary art box, which hopes to support kids who don’t have the resources to participate in arts and crafts.

These will include a variety of art supplies for crafting. Those boxes will be accompanied by online tutorials for people to follow along when doing their own crafting.

While the initial run is limited to 100 boxes available per month, Mizera said that this is about more than just arts and crafts.

“Studies show time and time again that creative cities are more prosperous and more resilient. There is a strong argument outside of the feel-good arts and crafts component that creativity matters,” Mizera said.

All of this means moving beyond individuals and eventually building up to public art collaborations. That could include the beautification of public spaces through murals, community cleanups, and other art projects.

Grassroots approach

The hope is that this focused approach tailored to individual communities will create resilience in the city.

“There are many great organizations throughout the city of Calgary. But we are taking a grassroots approach where others have taken a look at the macro-level before. From the grassroots up, we’ll establish programs that are unique to those communities. The people that know the best way to build those relationships are the folks that live there,” Mizera said.

The excitement for this possibility has been evident even in the early stages of getting Create Calgary off the ground. Although social media channels were recently established, Mizera said interest has been heartening.

The process of getting the organization on its feet is based on forming a coalition of Calgarians who care about these issues. That will lead to tools and resources like an app for the organization that is in the works and a quarterly magazine.

Create Calgary’s website will launch soon and with it a stronger online presence. The group hopes to carry forward that momentum into the summer as they begin working on expanding programming.

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