Artist Development

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The Business of the Arts (BOA) program gives local artists an opportunity to build their capacity to compete and thrive. With the right resources, they can flourish as entrepreneurs as well as artists, and create a sustainable living from their artistic practice.

Calling all artists and art groups! ACWB reviews the BOA learning series on an ongoing basis and we are looking for feedback from local artists on the current interests and needs of the arts community. Please fill out the survey to give us a better understanding of what you would like to see in the Business of the Arts program!

Creative Connections (C²) focuses on artistic practice, creative work and networking — by artists, for artists.

C² exists to help artists develop skills relevant to their discipline, feel more confident in their artistic practice and creative work, and connect with each other and leaders in their disciplines. ACWB will develop meaningful partnerships with local and visiting artists and arts organizations to present the program.

Calling all artists and art groups! Do you have an idea for a workshop, master class or event? ACWB wants to help you make it happen! We could provide a variety of resources to assist you in bringing your concept to life. Learn more about how ACWB can help with your arts initiative through our Creative Connections Process.

After completing the Post Wildfire Recovery in the Arts Strategic Plan (conducted by the Arts Recovery Working Group), ACWB gained funding from the Canadian Red Cross to manage a two-year arts recovery project. The goal of the project is to create opportunities for artists to collaborate and heal through their art, ultimately supporting recovery and resiliency in our community.

Learn more about the Art Recovery Project and Arts Recovery Working Group.

The ACWB Artist in Residency program follows the traditional residency model, in which non-local or local professional artists spend time creating work inspired by the environment, culture and people of Wood Buffalo. These Residency artists will engage with the community in a variety of ways, showcase their work through a final event and, most importantly, spend time mentoring a selected group of emerging, established and professional artists from this area. The program will be open to artists in any discipline.

There are so many benefits with this type of program, including bringing new perspectives, techniques and networking opportunities to our arts community, and giving non-local artists a new lens on the Wood Buffalo region.

In past years, the Municipally operated Residency program focused on master classes and mentorship. This type of artistic development is available through Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s Creative Connections program stream.

If you have questions or would like more information about our Artist in Residency program, please contact us at [email protected].

Getting to Sold

Taking Artisans Step by Step Through the Process of Getting their Craft from a Hobby to Market

For two weeks in August 2020, ACWB will be hosting a series of four online workshops designed for crafters, artisans and new artists looking to get their products to market.

Led by Arts Recovery Project Coordinator, Sharon Heading with the support of experienced local artisans, they’ll deliver information that they have used in setting up their successful businesses. You’ll be taken step by step through the process of getting your craft from a hobby to market.

Register through Eventbrite today.

Event Details

Dates: (This is a series of four online workshops.)

  • Tuesday, August 11
  • Thursday, August 13
  • Tuesday, August 18 
  • Thursday, August 20

Time: 6 – 8 p.m.

Location: Zoom classroom.

(Registrants for the workshops will be sent a Zoom link and specific details as the workshop dates approach.)


  • ACWB Members – FREE. A promo code has been sent to members in their monthly e-newsletter. If you are a member and have not received a code or can’t find it, please contact us at [email protected].
  • Non-Members – Pay $20 for the workshops and get a free one-year individual membership. Not only will you have access to the four Getting to Sold workshops, ACWB membership also allows you access to the soon-to-be-released online Virtual Marketplace and much more. Learn more about the benefits of becoming an ACWB member.

Register through Eventbrite. Register today and take your first step in becoming the artisan/entrepreneur that you’ve been dreaming of.

Donations are Welcome: 

Donations of $20 and above will go towards the free Membership Bank to help make memberships barrier-free, so anyone in the region can have access to the benefits of ACWB membership and be a part of the unified voice for the arts in Wood Buffalo. Donations of $50 and above are eligible for a tax receipt.

Additional Details

As part of the Arts Recovery Project, we have been listening to the arts community.  Many local artisans would like to know how to get their products to market, make sales, and have their own legitimate businesses.

In the current economic situation, keeping art alive is vital. Community markets, virtual markets or websites are just a few of the opportunities to sell your product. Get the answers to important questions to make your business more competitive in the artisan marketplace.

As part of this online workshop series, these are some of the questions we’ll be discussing:

  • How do you find your place? 
  • Do you need a business license and insurance? 
  • How do you package your product? 
  • Where can you sell your products: online, in markets, at stores? 

Virtual Marketplace – Coming Soon

Stay tuned, artisan/entrepreneurs!  After the series of Getting to Sold workshops, we’ll show you how to set up your own profile on the Virtual Marketplace to be hosted on the ACWB website. 

You’ll be able to sell your products, track sales, direct audiences to your website or social media, enhance your brand, build your following, and develop your dream of getting your art on the market.

Getting to Sold Manual – Coming Soon

ACWB is working with a local artist to create a learning manual for tactile or visual learners and for use in communities where training technology or traditional workshop delivery may not be available.  

The manual will support workshops so they can be delivered to an audience of a wide variety of ages and learning styles, and will be available in both digital format and printed formats, and shareable through online platforms. 

Register through Eventbrite today.

Questions and More Information

For questions or more information, please contact Sharon Heading, Arts Recovery Project Coordinator, at [email protected], or 780-381-6898.

August 11, 2020

Around the Campfire: Music, Stories & Songs

Join us on Friday, May 29 starting at 7 p.m. for “Around the Campfire: Music, Stories & Songs.” It’s a night of music, stories and songs presented by the Friends of Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts (FoSECPA), in partnership with Arts Council Wood Buffalo and Country 93.3.

Nashville-style Virtual Guitar Pull

Inspired by the traditional Nashville-style guitar pull, “Around the Campfire: Music, Stories & Songs” will see singer-songwriters taking turns playing songs, and swapping stories and personal recollections. They’ll also be interacting with their audience virtually from the live stream. This free event will be streamed online via Facebook live. See live stream details below.

Who will be Performing?

Local singer-songwriters Eva LaPrairie, Shantelle Davidson, Dan Gillies, Max Noseworthy, Aaron Deslandes, and Mychela will perform in the style of a traditional guitar pull, sharing stories about their songs, their playing style, and engaging with the audience in between performances of their original music. The presentation will be hosted by Dan Gillies and Mike Jones.

Event Date & Time

  • Date: Friday, May 29
  • Time: 7- 9 p.m.

Where to Watch this Free Performance

This event will be live streamed to the Country 93.3 Facebook page, and shared on the SECPA and ACWB Facebook Pages.

May 29, 2020

ACWB AiR – Directing Script to Stage with Michelle Thorne

UPDATE: All spaces have now been filled, but residents of Wood Buffalo can still visit the Eventbrite page and sign up for the wait list. Thank you to everyone who registered.


Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s Artist in Residency & Mentorship Program, presented in partnership with Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre, through eight group sessions with Michelle Thorne. Participants will be provided with in-group, and one-on-one opportunities for participants to learn the “ins and outs” of creating theatre from a theatre directorial point of view.


Workshops will include such elements as script analysis, design concepts and collaborations, stage management, auditions, casting, marketing and publicity and will culminate in their own Director’s Proposal by the end of the workshop series.


This workshop series will have a minimum required enrollment of four people, up to a maximum of 12, ages 16 and older.


Program updates: Workshops will be offered in an online platform to support social distancing and those that are quarantined or self-isolating. ACWB will be contacting registrants with details.


Registration is now FREE: In an effort to keep Arts Council (ACWB) programming accessible, the ACWB team has decided to make registration for this program free for Wood Buffalo residents.  A fee will still be charged for those outside of the region.


Format: Online Platform – Zoom


Workshop dates: March 22 to April 13, 2020 (Sundays and Mondays only)


Workshop times: Sundays: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.  & Mondays: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.


NOTE: Minor schedule updates have been made since the original event posting. See schedule below for more details. (Updated March 24, 2020)


March 22, 2020

Making it in Music: Concert & Conversation

February 11, 2020

Enjoy a live jazz performance followed by an insightful panel conversation on what it takes to be a musician in this day and age from leading Alberta musicians. Following Making it in Music Part 1: Songwriting Workshop with Denis Nassar, hosted by The District Recording Studio, ACWB hosts Making it in Music Part 2 with professional Alberta jazz musicians Modern Times Trio on February 11, 2020 as part of the Business of the Arts series. Held in Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre Rehearsal Hall, Modern Times Trio will perform an intimate concert, followed by a panel discussion sharing their insights as professional musicians. The panel also includes local musician Dan Gillies to give a local’s perspective on making it in music!

Register today at

Modern Times Trio brings together three of Alberta’s most in-demand performing and recording artists: guitarist Ryan Davidson, bassist Mike Lent and drummer Thom Bennett. The group is inspired as much by film music, drum n’ bass and contemporary sounds, as it is by classic and modern jazz music.  Their repertoire ranges from inventive originals to reimagined updates of classic material.   Modern Times Trio music is fun, compelling, melodic and accessible.

Members of the group have played together in various formations over the last 10 years and have developed a chemistry and a band sound that is instantly recognizable.  Members of the trio have performed with:  PJ Perry, Kathleen Edwards, Gord Bamford, Dave Brubeck, Wayne Newton, Brad Turner, Tommy Banks, Johnny Reid, K.D Lang, Jann Arden, and hundreds of others.

In addition to their vast performing experience Modern Times trio members have worked at the following post-secondary institutions: University of Alberta, MacEwan University, Concordia University, Alberta College, University of North Texas and Keyano College.  Members of the trio have also appeared on over 200 albums as performers, engineers, producers, song-writers and arrangers.

For this special performance and clinic, Modern Times Trio is joined by local musician and instructor Dan Gillies.  Dan is a Canadian guitarist who released his first instrumental album in 2014. The album featured styles ranging from classic rock to modal jazz to Celtic mandolin and was hailed as a “brilliant fusion of styes”. Dan’s groups have shared stages with The Trews, Geroge Canyon, Bachman & Turner, The Road Hammers and many others. Dan is also an author and regularly contributes to Canadian Musician Magazine.

February 11, 2020

Arts Match 2.0

January 30, 2020

Amazing things happen when the arts get together!

Since the 2019 Arts Match was such a success, we thought we’d bring it back! Don’t be fooled by the name, Arts Match is not just for singles. It’s a networking event for all artists, artisans and arts enthusiasts in Wood Buffalo to meet like minded people, learn about different arts based organizations, arts opportunities, venues and how to get involved! ACWB invites all artists and artisans in Wood Buffalo to our FREE Arts Match 2.0 event on January 30, 5:30 – 8:30 PM in the Keyano Gallery / Theatre Lobby.

Are you an actor, singer, dancer, musician looking for opportunities to perform? Visual artist looking for an opportunity to show and or sell your work? Would you like to volunteer in the arts, find a mentor, or you don’t know what you want except you want to be part of the arts in Wood Buffalo?

Let’s find your magic connection at the ACWB Arts Match!

Claim your FREE ticket on Eventbrite at

What should Artists expect?

This fun and engaging event is based on the speed networking model where individuals have 2 minutes to talk directly to organizations/groups at each booth about that orgs/groups’ projects and programs, and how the individual can get involved. Depending on your arrival time, you will be assigned a “round”. The rounds last roughly 30 minutes, with additional opportunities to network with other artists outside of your round.

Looking to host a Booth?

Are you an organization in Wood Buffalo looking to work with artists? Are you an individual or group working on a project and need artist participants? Are you a photographer, filmmaker, visual artist or producer looking for models, actors, or performers? Do you simply have an idea you want to share with creative people who can help you move the idea to fruition? Sign up to have a booth at the January 2020 Arts Match! Contact Sharon Heading, [email protected] to claim your spot.

January 30, 2020

Up Close & Personal with Indigenous Author Wayne Arthurson

ACWB presents our first rendition of the ACWB AIR program with Up Close & Personal with Indigenous Author Wayne Arthurson, in partnership with the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo.

Wayne Arthurson is a professional writer of Cree and French Canadian descent with over 30 years experience as well as the author of the bestselling and award-winning Leo Desroches crime series. The first novel in that series, Fall From Grace, was published by Forge Books in 2011 and won the $10,000 Alberta Readers Choice Award. The second, A Killing Winter, was published in 2012. The third was published in 2016. He is also the author of two other novels and five books of non-fiction. His freelance work has also appeared in over 100 publications and is also the co-author of one of the most popular fan blogs for Amazing Race Canada.

Meet Mr. Arthurson and listen to his in-person reading, with discussion to follow, on December 11 and 14.. Participants can also sign up to have 1 of 4 one-on-one 15 minutes session with the writer between Noon and 1pm on December 14. This is a great opportunity for individuals who want to dive into the inspirations of Arthurson’s work, take a deeper look at what it takes to write a novel with such depth, and learn about his experiences as an Indigenous literary artist in Canada.

All dates in the 2019 Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s Artist in Residency, Up Close & Personal with Indigenous Author Wayne Arthurson include:

Author Reading & Discussion, December 11 from 10am – 12pm at Fort McKay Métis Nation Office

Métis Elders Tea (By Invitation Only) , December 12 from 11:30am – 1:30pm at McMurray Métis

Author Reading & Discussion, December 14 from 11am – 12pm at the Wood Buffalo Regional Library

15 Minute Individual Sessions with Author, December 14 from 12pm – 1pm at the Wood Buffalo Regional Library

Register online at or by contacting Sharon Heading at [email protected] or 780-381-6898.

December 14, 2019

2019 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Exhibit

Arts Council Wood Buffalo proudly invites you to the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Exhibit, running October 16-21 at the Keyano Theatre Art Gallery. The opening reception will be held on October 16, 5-8 PM.

This unique exhibition showcases the artwork of the 2019 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards Midnight Coffeehouse (the Buffys) nominees in the categories Craft, Indigenous Arts, and Visual Arts.

Join us for the opening reception on Wednesday, October 16, between 5-8 PM at the Keyano Art Gallery. Light refreshments will be served, and there will be a wine bar.

The Buffys celebrate the achievements of local artists through performances and exhibition. Tickets to the main showcase on October 19 is now on sale at

October 16, 2019

Making it in Music: FACTOR Funding 101

ACWB and FACTOR invite musicians and recording artists on August 20 to a helpful grants webinar. Join FACTOR online to learn all about their funding opportunities that can finance recording, touring, music videos, and everything in between!

Facilitator: Karina Moldovan

FREE – registration required

The Business of the Arts program offers local artists an opportunity to build their capacity to compete and thrive by providing them with the resources they need to flourish as entrepreneurs as well as artists and to create a sustainable living from their artistic practice.

FACTOR (the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings) is a public/private partnership that supports the production of sound recordings by Canadian musicians and helps Canadian music companies make recordings available to a wider public.

August 20, 2019

Arts Match

Amazing things happen when the arts get together!

ACWB invites all artists and artisans in Wood Buffalo who would like to connect with other artists to our FREE Arts Match on August 6, 5:30 PM – 9 PM in the Keyano Recital Theatre Lobby, with a complimentary BBQ in the adjacent courtyard!

Are you working on a project and need participants? Are you an actor, singer, dancer, musician looking for opportunities to perform? Visual artist looking for an opportunity to show and or sell your work? Would you like to volunteer in the arts, find a mentor, or perhaps you are a filmmaker looking for actors? Do you simply have an idea you want to talk about?

Let’s find your magic connection at the ACWB Arts Match!

What should you expect?

This fun and engaging event is based on the speed dating model: local arts groups and individuals who have information to share, are looking for volunteers, or would like to get information about their project out to the arts community will have 2 minutes to make their pitch one-on-one with interested individuals.

For individuals, this is an opportunity to talk directly to arts groups about how you might get involved with them, and ask about their projects and programs.

Sign up today at!

August 6, 2019

Working Artist 101

ACWB invites artists, arts organizations, and community arts groups on July 9 to Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre for our next Business of the Arts workshop. Join ACWB for a crash course in building a solid foundation for your artistic enterprise – expect tips, tricks, and takeaways!

Topics for the Working Artist 101 workshop include:

– Administrative and financial basics
– Building your portfolio
– Pricing your work
– Promoting yourself

Facilitator: Diana Moser, ACWB Programs Manager
Registration is $20 for ACWB members and $25 for non-members, and is available through Eventbrite at:

The Business of the Arts program offers local artists an opportunity to build their capacity to compete and thrive by providing them with the resources they need to flourish as entrepreneurs as well as artists and to create a sustainable living from their artistic practice.

July 9, 2019

We Heal, an Art Exhibition

YMCA Wood Buffalo and Arts Council Wood Buffalo Arts Recovery Project presented We Heal, an Art Exhibition! on May 2 from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Keyano Art Gallery, to enjoy the art that healed our community members from the 2016 Horse River Wildfire.


We Heal, an Art Exhibition was a community show juried by professional peers highlighting journeys of healing since the 2016 Horse River Wildfire.

May 2, 2019

Canadian Art Support Organizations Meet & Greet

Arts Council Wood Buffalo invited Artists and arts enthusiasts to an evening of conversation in the Rehearsal Hall at Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre, with visitors to our region from Calgary Arts Development, Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada, and more.

Featuring live musical performances, networking with local champions of Arts, Culture, and Heritage, as well as The Art of Healing visual and literary art exhibit in the Keyano exhibition space were all available to enjoy by guests.

In partnership with Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre, ACWB also hosted the Canada Council for the Arts for a free information session about their funding programs. The session provided an overview of grants available to artists working across artistic fields of practice. Several artists also met one on one with Canada Council program officers to discuss their needs in more detail.

April 30, 2019

Highlights from past events

What our Artists have to say