2 April 2019 The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec marks its 25th anniversary
For the past 25 years, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) has been investing in the imagination and celebrating the success of the creators of artworks and memorable works of literature that shape our identity, shining a spotlight on them at home and abroad. The CALQ has enabled over 13,000 artists and organizations from across Québec to offer abundant, diversified cultural experiences in every discipline, enriching us, uniting us, delighting us and drawing admiration from local and international audiences – from Life of Pi to J’aime Hydro, from the Mutek festival to the short films Fauve and Marguerite up for an Oscar. From 1994 to date, the number of arts and literary organizations the CALQ supports has doubled, from 370 to 872. Tracking the same curve, the number of grants awarded to artists and writers has seen a 93% increase.

From Dany Laferrière to Marie Chouinard, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Nadia Myre, Cirque Alfonse, Arcade Fire and Denis Villeneuve, the CALQ focuses on original artistic practices by supporting talented artists and backing dynamic companies to create singular works. To spotlight the creativity and success of artists, writers and organizations supported over the past 25 years, the CALQ, in cooperation with institutional and event programming partners, such as the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), the Festival Trans-Amériques, the Carrefour international de théâtre de Québec, the Festival Québec BD and the Festival des guitares du monde in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, will offer a program of free activities for the public in different regions of Québec, from April to December 2019. The list of activities will be expanded during the year.

An impressive track record

A vehicle for the development of Québec arts and literature, the CALQ’s evolution reflects how the Québec arts scene has flourished from 1994 to the present day. In terms of international exposure, with the CALQ’s support, seven shows are presented every day on the world’s major stages. Some 30 CALQ grants helped artists travel outside Québec in 1994, a number that has risen to over 500.

There has also been a significant transformation across Québec. The number of grants to artists and writers has tripled, while the number of grants to organizations in the regions (outside of Québec and Montréal) has quintupled. Since 2014, the CALQ has supported over 100 presenters and exhibition centres that offer Québec audiences works by creators from around the corner and around the world.

“The arts are important to society, and their social and economic contribution to local communities has been amply demonstrated. The excellence, richness and variety of work by local artists and creative organizations are clear. For the past 25 years, the CALQ’s strength has been in the diversity of viewpoints expressed through its support, pooling skills and sharing knowledge. Our mission to support the development of a sustainable ecosystem across Québec is crucial to making the arts as accessible to as wide an audience as possible. The CALQ’s experience, combined with the vitality of artistic settings, makes the future seem bright; fueled by the same passion, the CALQ’s team and directors will continue to support artists, writers and cultural workers.”

–    Anne-Marie Jean, president and CEO of the CALQ.

Looking to the future

Evolving from the typewriter to online services, the CALQ has stayed in step with the communities it serves to respond to their wide-ranging needs: research, touring, creation, production, dissemination and development. Its efforts have helped improve the socio-economic conditions of creators and introduce mechanisms to strengthen respect for copyright. The CALQ has encouraged emerging artists and career building. It has implemented programs for First Nations cultures and incentives to include marginalized clienteles. It has been a partner in Québec’s international cultural influence and has supported the entry into new markets.

“In line with the orientations of Québec’s Cultural Policy and our new strategic plan – being released shortly – our resources will focus on three areas in the coming years: strengthening artistic careers and organizations, promoting the arts to the public, and knowledge sharing,” Ms. Jean said. “We are developing a new grant program, which we will be making available to artists in the coming months. We are proud of how far we have come, but our attention is firmly focused on what remains to be done in the short, medium and long term to ensure the sustainable, inclusive development of the arts across Québec.

About the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

From a perspective of equitable, sustainable artistic development, the CALQ supports, throughout Québec, creation, experimentation and production in the arts and literature and promotes dissemination and the influence of Québec, in Canada and abroad.

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