Banff Centre for the Arts


Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, formerly known as The Banff Centre (and previously The Banff Centre for Continuing Education), located in
Alberta Alberta () is one of the thirteen of . It is part of and is one of the three . is the official language of the province. In 2016, 76.0% of Albertans were , 1.8% were and 22.2% were . Alberta is bordered by to the west, to the east, the to t ...

, was established in 1933 as the Banff School of Drama. It was granted full autonomy as a non-degree granting post-secondary educational institution in 1978. It offers arts programs in the performing and
fine arts In European academic traditions, fine art is developed primarily for aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about ...
, as well as
leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and B ...

training. Banff Centre is a member of the
Alberta Rural Development Network ARDN originated in Alberta, created as a partnership of Alberta’s 21 public post secondary institutions. With the support of these institutions and the dedication of rural communities in Alberta, ARDN has evolved and grown over the past 11 year ...
. On June 23, 2016, Banff Centre announced a new name: Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.


The Centre was founded in 1933 by the
University of Alberta The University of Alberta, also known as U of A or UAlberta, is a Public university, public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It was founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford,"A Gentleman of Strathcona – Alexander ...

University of Alberta
, with a grant from the U.S.-based Carnegie Foundation. Initially only drama courses were offered. In 1935 the Centre became known as The Banff School of Fine Arts. As arts programming continued to succeed and develop, conferences were introduced in 1953 and management programs in 1954. The facility was renamed The Banff Centre for Continuing Education (The Banff Centre for short) in 1970. The Centre was granted full autonomy as a non-degree granting educational institution under the governance of a board of directors by the Province of Alberta in 1978. The Centre is now affiliated with the
University of Calgary A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior Behavio ...
, which became its trustee and a significant student feeder in 1966. In the mid-1990s, in response to a cut in its provincial operating grant, the Centre launched a capital campaign (The Creative Edge). Proceeds were used to develop conference and arts facilities, which opened in 1996. The Centre was designated as a National Training Institute by the federal government in 1999, and became home to the
Banff International Research Station
Banff International Research Station
in 2003. The Centre's name was officially changed to "The Banff Centre" in 2008, and to the "Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity" in 2016. On June 11, 2020 laid off 284 staff members via Zoom. The lay off subsequently sparked an open letter from several prominent artists, curators, arts figures, alumni and current and former staff expressing concern for the institution's commitment to values supporting its visual arts programming and operations.


Programs include residencies, workshops, practicum programs, the Leighton Artists' Studios (an artist retreat), and the multidisciplinary Banff Summer Arts Festival.


In 2013, the centre applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to acquire two tourist information radio stations serving the area, CFPE-FM and CFPF-FM, from Friends of Banff National Park Fellowship, and to launch an additional new station, CJXB-FM. Under the Banff Centre's ownership, the existing stations would be expanded to incorporate some community radio talk and information programming,"Banff Centre Radio goes live next week"
. ''Rocky Mountain Outlook'', June 19, 2014.
while the new CJXB would program an adult album alternative music format. The approval to acquire CFPE and CFPF from the Friends of Banff was granted on July 19, 2013, while the new station was approved on August 6, 2013. The centre formally launched its new community radio programming on the existing stations in June 2014. By 2015, however, CJXB had still not launched when the Banff Centre decided to discontinue all three radio stations in order to focus on a podcasting strategy. The CRTC revoked the CFPE and CFPF licenses on April 10, 2015.


Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity facilities offer resources to support artists of all disciplines. Facilities include a writers' lounge and the Library and Archives. The Leighton Artists' Studios has nine studio cottages. The centre also operates the Walter Phillips Gallery, an art museum located within the Banff Centre. In addition to its arts programming, conferences were introduced in 1953 and management programs in 1954. Banff Centre hosts 500 conferences a year, with proceeds dedicated to supporting arts programming. In 2003, it became host to the Banff International Research Station, Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery.


*Claire and Antoinette Cann *Shawn Everett *Moira Walley-Beckett


{{authority control Performing arts education in Canada Performing arts centres in Canada Universities and colleges in Alberta Buildings and structures in Banff, Alberta Culture of Banff, Alberta Art schools in Canada Educational institutions established in 1933 1933 establishments in Alberta