Arts Commons Puts Arts Education on Calgary’s Centre Stage with Launch of Arts ReimaginED Program

New from Arts Commons Education, Arts ReimaginED invites youth, parents and teachers to free in-classroom workshops, live performances, and a summit to broaden learning, professional development, and support for arts education in Calgary and beyond, aligning with UNESCO International Arts Education Week.


April 5, 2023 - CALGARY – Arts and education are powerful allies that empower learners in developing skills that activate and engage curiosity and creative thinking, develop agency and self, and build cultural and emotional intelligence - all critical for future employment. Aligning with UNESCO International Arts Education Week, Arts Commons launches Arts ReimaginED from May 22 – 26, 2023, kicking off a year-round program with a week of arts education activities. To learn more, visit  

Despite overwhelming research that supports the long-term benefits of arts education and the role it has in youth development, learning, community building and employment, these benefits are not widely recognized by key stakeholder groups. To better understand this disconnect, Arts Commons conducted a Benchmark Survey with the support of Calgary Arts Development through research consulting firm Stone-Olafson in spring 2022. Three key stakeholder groups were identified and received customized surveys: educators, parents, and arts facilitators, including independent teaching artists, arts organizations, and both commercial and community organizations. The results indicated that parents were significantly unaware of the value of arts education, there is a pressing need for support and training for teachers, and finally, that there is an eagerness from artists to learn more, engage more and connect to more teaching opportunities.  In response, Arts Commons conceptualized Arts ReimaginED. The program addresses each stakeholder response by providing weeklong, accessible, and free activities to experience the arts in the community, in classrooms, and at Arts Commons.

“The information we gathered from the Benchmark Survey and global research indicates that arts education is a vital piece of child and youth development. We know that this is true, and that this work is vital, so how do we support it?” says Karen Youngberg, Associate Director of Education at Arts Commons. “Arts Commons is taking a collaborative approach and creating supports for all of the stakeholders involved in this work. This is the first step in a new comprehensive approach to arts education in our city.”

As the country’s third largest arts centre, Arts Commons is uniquely situated to redefine a bold and adventurous Calgary by championing and investing in creativity. We are driven by a collaborative team of industry experts, performing arts leaders, and exceptional teaching artists. Through our diverse programming, we ensure students and teachers have immersive, engaging arts education programs in Calgary. These programs include the award-winning ConocoPhillips Hub for Inspired Learning and the impactful National Geographic Live student presentations. Arts ReimaginED will lay the groundwork for a new understanding of arts education in our community, creating a foundational learning platform to meet the needs of tomorrow’s employers with creative, curious, and team-focused professionals.

“We have an opportunity to be on the leading edge of creating a whole new playbook for arts education in Calgary and across the country,” says Alex Sarian, President and CEO of Arts Commons. “The demand for this kind of work is far exceeding our sector’s ability to satisfy the interests of parents, teachers, and teaching artists. Within one week of opening applications for the in-classroom workshops, we had seven times as many classes as we can accommodate submit their interest. That demonstrates the undisputable appetite that Calgary has for this work and that Arts Commons is uniquely positioned to help build capacity within our city’s arts community.”

Arts ReimaginED is the first of its kind to deliver year-round arts education support, advocacy, and hands-on learning offering professional development for teachers and teaching artists, culminating in a Summit to ignite stakeholders in creating positive change in Calgary. Arts ReimaginED seeks to support teachers, parents, and caregivers, and teaching artists in key areas of need through in-classroom workshops, community-based activations through the YMCA, a ground-breaking performance for young audiences with associated education opportunities, and more! Engage with us for Arts ReimaginED, May 22 – 26, 2023 through these opportunities:

In-Classroom Workshops: Addressing the responses of 94% of teacher respondents, Arts Commons will offer over 100 free arts education workshops to schools in each quadrant of Calgary. Teachers and students will have the opportunity to create and learn alongside award-winning local teaching artists who are masters in their field. Open to every grade level, these In-Classroom Workshops will cover everything from drama to visual arts to music and technical theatre, exposing students to the brightest minds in our creative community. Learn more here!

YMCA Activations: Arts Commons is collaborating with Calgary YMCAs to bring arts-based workshops to a community near you. Families are invited to experience the joy of arts education alongside their child(ren). These free workshops feature 21 local teaching artists such as Chantal Chagnon, Anthony Russell, and Lana Skauge. Learn more here!

Leonardo: A Wonderful Story about a Terrible Monster: The ground-breaking live theatre and film company Manual Cinema brings their creative take on Mo Willems’s award-winning book, Leonardo: A Wonderful Story about a Terrible Monster, to the Engineered Air Theatre at Arts Commons. The performance will be accompanied by a meet-and-greet with the creative team, demonstrations of the unique technology incorporated into the show, and the opportunity for attendees to create their own puppet in our Monster Lab. Learn more here!

Teaching Artist Development: Arts Commons is excited to offer a week of professional development sessions for teaching artists led by Jean E. Taylor from New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. These complimentary sessions will inspire artists to consider the value of their artistry and teaching practice - from one of the leading minds in arts education. Learn more here!

The Arts ReimaginED Summit: The week of events will conclude with an exclusive opportunity for passionate arts education advocates to come together to disrupt current ways of thinking about arts and education. The Arts ReimaginED Summit will feature a keynote address by celebrated arts education expert Dr. Christopher Emdin, art activations, and panel discussions. Learn more here!

Arts Commons Education shares learning opportunities with all grades through our comprehensive programs including the award-winning ConocoPhillips Hub for Inspired Learning, Wonder Program, and Student Presentations like National Geographic Live. Through hands-on experience, students create, explore, and discover alongside visual, performing, and technical experts making meaningful connections to their curriculum, their community, and themselves. To learn more about our arts education programs and the future of Arts ReimaginED, visit

Arts Commons wishes to express our sincere appreciation to the Teatro Fund for Arts Commons Education and Calgary Arts Development.