An hour's drive from Calgary, Rosebud numbers fewer than 100 residents, but little else about it is small. Once a farming community in decline, it is now home to a museum, art gallery, recording studio, a community centre, church, golf course, and much more. The arts are the key to this success.
It started in 1973 when Calgary teacher LaVerne Erickson launched a summer arts camp in the hamlet. Nonprofit societies were founded to accumulate capital and administer the rapidly growing program, which became a Fine Arts High School in 1979 and then, in 1986, a theatre, music, and creative arts apprenticeship program. Corporations were established to manage commercial interests and housing projects on behalf of the school. Provincial recognition as an institution of higher learning enabled the school to function as a foundation as well.
Through a wise application of financial tools and structures, Rosebud School of the Arts manages to combine theatre and education with the building of support organizations and programs, housing, and other community assets. But it was the arts that enticed to Rosebud the committed, skillful, and entrepreneurial people who are fundamental to any community's renewal.