Soul of the City neighbourhood grants offer $50K to Calgarians

Ten grassroots groups have brainstormed a creative way to make Calgary better, and they'll pitch a live studio audience for the chance to bring their idea to life Tuesday night.

Contestants will pitch a panel of 5 'friendly dragons,' live audience picks winners

Caitlind Brown, left, along with collaborator Wayne Garrett, right, will pitch "Whispers in the Tall Grass" at Tuesday's Soul of the City event alongside Antyx Community Arts for a chance to win a $10,000 community improvement grant. (Supplied)

Ten grassroots groups have brainstormed a creative way to make Calgary better, and they'll make their case in front of a live studio audience for the chance to bring their idea to life Tuesday night.

In the style of CBC's Dragons' Den, the Soul of the City event gives contestants seven minutes to pitch a panel of five "friendly dragons" and answer any questions.

The audience then votes on which five projects win a $10,000 grant.

"We really wanted to showcase the amazing things that people are doing on the ground in Calgary to make their communities better," said Julie Black with the Calgary Foundation.

Public, invisible and edible art

"It's an amazing lineup, really. I kind of feel sorry for the audience," Black said. "They've got a tough choice to pick the top five."

The shortlisted projects include an ESL class from Forest Lawn who want to throw down a "pho down" — a new festival that highlights the "beautiful soup that we love from Vietnam," Black said.

Another group has proposed to build a public art project to replace the Brentwood community mural that was recently vandalized beyond repair.

Another project features artist Caitlind Brown and youth organization Antyx Community Arts trying to create an invisible audio project in Forest Lawn that would embed 10 speakers in the grass of three hills.

Viewers will lie in the grass as they listen to voices from a mixture of stories and interviews, some fictitious and others truthful, as told by local individuals.

Brown said she's just excited to have this opportunity to share her team's idea with other Calgarians.

"No matter what, whether we win or lose, money isn't the issue," said Brown.

"It's getting a buy-in of participation from the people around you in the city. This is the Soul of the City. That's what it's all about."

The event is a collaboration between the Calgary Foundation, the RBC Foundation and Calgary Economic Development and takes place at the Glenbow Museum Theatre.

With files from The Homestretch


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