UAS aims to support local artists by assisting with the means of artistic production through the provision of various facilities such as studio space, a black and white darkroom, workshops and equipment rental. UAS's philosophy recognizes that affordable production space is integral to maintaining a creative and artistic community. The UAS studios were created by a group of graduating ACAD students who were concerned with the possible loss of their immediate community circle once their degree program was complete. This group of artists took the necessary risk and created a working space that provided them with the support, discourse, and creative activity needed to contribute to relevant discourse.
The issue of affordable arts production space is one that has plagued Calgary for decades. With Calgary's costly real estate, and arts funding focused on exhibition spaces, Calgary has fallen behind on the development of necessary arts production spaces that build and develop an energetic, creative community, particularly in the visual arts. Despite having one of Canada's most recognized post-secondary arts school (Alberta College of Art & Design) located in Calgary, the boom/bust nature of Calgary's economy has resulted in a steady depopulation of arts professionals to other regions of Canada that provide affordable living, and as a result, contain large creative communities. UAS has been supporting artists with affordable studio spaces, rented without lengthy contracts and at below market rates, for nearly two decades. Our artists rent studios that not only provide affordable working space, but do so within a ready-made community with whom they can continually grow, learn, and advance their career even within harsh economic conditions. UAS subsidized studio members also have an obligation to contribute a minimum level of volunteerism, enabling UAS to keep operational expenses low.
UAS exhibits an ongoing dedication to the provision of affordable, community-based production spaces for artists in Calgary.