The Canadian Arts Summit was founded in 1998 by Business / Arts and The Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity.
The Summit is a leadership forum in April of each year that brings together the chief executives, artistic directors, and board chairs of Canada’s largest not-for-profit arts and cultural institutions, including symphony orchestras, theatres, opera and ballet companies, heritage and art museums, as well as other key stakeholders with a vested interest in nurturing and fostering a thriving arts ecosystem in Canada.
The Summit is founded on the core principle that it is a gathering of leaders, the outcome of which is shaped by the participants. For that reason, the Summit has become, over its history, not just a weekend event in the spring, but an ongoing network of arts leaders working together, throughout the year.
The mission of the Canadian Arts Summit is to inspire meaningful engagement in the arts by:
- Creating a forum where institutional leaders in the arts and culture sector can meet, network, exchange ideas, share best practices and collaborate; and
- Leading interactions and initiatives that contribute strategically to the advancement of key issues in the arts and culture sector; and
- Championing the benefits of arts and culture to government, business and the wider public.
The Summit operates as a partnership between Business / Arts and The Banff Centre. The activities of the Summit are guided by a Steering Committee composed of Delegates and coordinated by a Secretariat, currently Business / Arts.
The Summit does not operate with a formal membership structure. The stakeholders of the Summit include organizations that meet a set of qualifying criteria. Generally, Delegates include the lead artistic, executive and board representatives of charitable, government-funded arts and culture organizations with annual operating budgets of $3 million and over. Organizations represent performing arts, visual arts, film, museums, producing venues and festivals. At times, exceptions are made.
The primary activities of the Summit include hosting the annual Summit event, as well as ongoing advocacy. From time to time, the Summit may also undertake special projects such as research.
The annual Summit is attended by Delegates. Each year, external speakers and presenters involved in the Summit program also attend. A number of additional guests who don’t meet the qualifying criteria are also included among the invitees.
Each year, a report is compiled following the Canadian Arts Summit with programming highlights, advocacy efforts and key takeaways from the gathering. The report is distributed to all Summit Delegates and made publically available. Access the reports here.