List of Detailed Grievances RE: Contemporary Calgary shared from the Joint Statement <here>:
Lack of basic support for artists accessing their gallery and work spaces: unclear expectations from Contemporary Calgary for artists invited to work in their space; extremely delayed or non-existent contracts; no safety protocol or first aid kits; lack of coordination and communication around programming that interfered with artist work in Collider space; lack of the facilities promoted to artists such as a full workshop, sinks, and power.
Lack of adequate equitable support for Indigenous, racialized, and equity-seeking artists; all-white floor staff with no anti-racist and equity training; Contemporary Calgary was incapable of giving appropriate attention to artists and their work before, during, and after the Planetary exhibition opened.
Compromised integrity of artworks due to disrespectful curatorial suggestions and lack of care and communication. Lacked thorough and thoughtful planning during setup of the exhibition, creating anxiety with last-minute changes and burdening artists to cover additional production fee/materials; making artists second guess their decisions/choices, developing the feeling of diminishment.
Contemporary Calgary did not proactively reach out to the artists, relying on them to bring up concerns; artists were constantly chasing/following up while communicating with Contemporary Calgary; asking for our knowledge, expertise, labour without compensation/reciprocating.
Lack of engagement with the artists despite the collaborative community approach pitched by Contemporary Calgary; the burden fell on the artists to seek that space.
No promotion of artists prior to exhibition launch, no mention of artist names at the opening, creating the feeling of being displaced and tokenized.
Contemporary Calgary did not provide a pandemic support plan to artists, only offering the option of creating new online programming without recognizing that some artists were not experienced in digital spaces, or did not have art practices that were transferable online. Instead, they focused their resources on the international/national Field Trip and online 2020 Collider programs.
Artists were not given updates about their plans for Planetary during the 3 months of gallery closure and were contacted only 2 weeks before their planned reopening without consultation. Contract extensions and artist fees were not negotiated during this period of uncertainty.
BLM statement lacked concrete actions and acknowledgment of their own complicity as a white institution (the board is predominantly white, the staff is mostly white, all positions of power are held by white people). Indigenous and racialized artists in Planetary were not consulted to engage in how Contemporary Calgary can do better for the community. Again, Contemporary Calgary chose to focus elsewhere by connecting with other large institutions to nominate racialized artists in their networks to promote on their Field Trip Residency.
Contemporary Calgary was defensive and overly apologetic in response to the influx of emails expressing concern about the institution as well as the requests from artists to remove their work from Planetary, yet no actions were taken to help shift things. Attempted internal, ongoing discussions with Contemporary Calgary ultimately did not help to resolve these issues.
This list shares the common grievances as a group. For more nuanced perspectives, each artist will release their own letters found <here>.