CALGARY -- The province announced it was allocating $17 million to help stabilize the performing arts, sports and rodeo sectors Thursday.

The Stabilize Program will provide one-time grant funding to help organizations in those sectors survive through the lockdowns of the pandemic, ensuring they will be able to reopen when it is declared safe to do so.

“This funding is critical to supporting venues and events ,that build and sustain vibrant communities and our cultural heritage and our mental well-being," said Alberta culture minister Leela Sharon Aheer (who is also the minister for the status of women and multiculturalism), in a release. "Reinvigorating our live experience sector will also bring back jobs and foster tourism to support our economic recovery. When arts, culture, sport and heritage thrive, Alberta thrives.”

Leela Aheer, grant, faith-based

For Calgary's battered arts sector, the news came as a welcome relief.

“The live music and experience sector is a critical part of the culture, well-being and economy of Albertans," said National Music Centre President and CEO Andrew Mosker.  "Ensuring the sustainability of this sector is vital to accelerating the recovery of our province after the pandemic is over.”

National Music Centre

Eligible organizations can apply for operational funding through the Stabliize Program to offset financial losses .

"Qualifying organizations will be eligible for a one-time grant of up to 25 per cent of eligible expenses based on 2018 and 2019 financials. Organizations may use funds for ongoing operational costs, such as utilities, rent, insurance and programming, to support their reopening. The Stabilize Program allocates $12 million, and applications will be accepted until midnight Feb.18," they said in a release.

The matching stream of the program will spend up to $5 million to match private donors, dollar-for-dollar, to eligible non-profit organizations that host rodeos and professional and elite amateur sports, in addition to non-profit organizations that own and/or operate "dedicated presenting and performing arts venues or live experience venues."

In 2018, Alberta's live event sector contributed over $660 million to the economy, employing close to 15,000 people.

More information about the Stabilize Program is available here.