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August 2020’s Centre Stage with Shantelle Davidson

Shantelle Davidson’s first memories of being an entertainer made her feel nervous and very excited all at the same time. Even from a young age she knew that music was her purpose, and she needed to pursue it.

“I started singing onstage with my Grandma and her band when I was 6,” said Davidson. “I enjoyed piano, voice and guitar lessons.” She hasn’t looked back in her musical rearview mirror ever since.

Hailing from Rainy River, a small town in Northern Ontario bordering on Minnesota, she grew up singing in church and at local talent shows. Davidson moved to Fort McMurray with her family in 2005. “I remember being so excited to live in a ‘big city.’ I became a part of the arts community, singing in choir, musical theatre, and Keyano Theatre. I’ve been here 15 years.”

Growing up so close to America, it was almost like it was her destiny to spend some time in the south. “One day at Westwood [Community High School], I saw a poster for auditions to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in Los Angeles, California. I thought I would give it a shot. I couldn’t believe it when I got the acceptance call from AMDA offering me a scholarship.”

Davidson graduated from AMDA in 2008, and spent time in Vancouver working as an actress and recording original music. She later returned to Alberta to record her solo debut album in Calgary, which was released in 2015, earned impressive reviews, and was played on radio stations across Canada and the United States.

As part of her busy musical career, Davidson performed some of her original music at ‘Around the Campfire: Music, Stories & Songs’ in May 2020. Inspired by the traditional Nashville-style guitar pull, she took turns playing songs, and swapping stories and personal recollections with a number of local singer/songwriters, which was streamed live from the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts.

The Guitar Pull “was so fantastic,” said Davidson. “I loved hearing the songs and stories from the other artists, as well as sharing my own. I was just over the moon to take part.”

“I feel so privileged to work and play here,” says Davidson. “Inspired by so many great people in our community, it makes it easy to create. There are so many opportunities. Most of all, I love the way our community supports the arts.”

Despite the uncertain times, Davidson had been recording new music with help from her friends at the District Recording Studio (before the flood), and continued recording new vocals for the project down in Edmonton with Dan Davidson, as well as Clayton Bellamy of The Road Hammers. “It’s a challenging time for everyone. As an artist, I feel called to inspire more than ever.”

Stay tuned for Davidson’s new single “Looking Up,” coming this summer on Canadian Country radio. Keep up to date and listen to her music by following @shantelledavidsonmusic on Instagram, Facebook
and YouTube.


Connect to the local arts community and follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn (@artscouncilwb), or visit the brand new website at www.artscouncilwb.ca.

July 24, 2020

July 2020’s Centre Stage with Kritsana Naowakhun

Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Kritsana Naowakhun has been fascinated with art from a very young age. While his true passion is for painting and visual arts, he is a man of many talents, including cooking Thai and Asian cuisine. 

“To me, culinary arts and visual art can draw many parallels.”

Naowakhun’s first exposure to art was through his grandfather, who had an artistic background as a temple painter in China. “My grandfather would take me to Chinese opera, create beautiful ink drawings of magical creatures, and tell fascinating stories of faraway lands.”

“My mother saw that art gave me joy and purpose.” 

Naowakhun’s family supported him as he studied art through elementary and high school, and he eventually studied sculpture at Silpakorn University, the most prestigious art university in Thailand. “Only 55 people are selected out of thousands who apply, and luckily for me, I was one of those students who was accepted on my first try.”

Kritsana Naowakhun in the studio (Photo supplied by Kritsana Naowakhun)

He came to Fort McMurray in 2012 to start a new life with his Canadian wife, supporting her dream of teaching and creating dance while providing a good life for their children.

“In my artistic journey here in Canada, my first impressions were about the amazing new landscapes and animals I would encounter. After moving to Fort McMurray, I saw the beauty in how so many cultures can coexist while keeping their heritage and connection to the land. I want to express my impressions of the world around me through my Buddhist outlook on life and human nature.”

For the past seven years, Naowakhun has been teaching painting classes at Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts (SECPA) and has developed programming for artists of all ability levels and ages ranging from six to adult. 

Under normal circumstances, he teaches eight classes a week at SECPA. However, he has adapted to the physical distancing practices and teaches virtual painting and drawing classes from home.

Naowakhun has been busy in the local arts community. He has been part of two art shows with local artist, Shauna Kelly, three solo shows at The Kirschner Family Community Art Gallery, two art installations for the igNIGHT public art exhibition, he has painted a fox sculpture along the TOTAL Aboriginal Interpretive Trail at MacDonald Island Park, and he has participated in the local Artist in Residency program.

He has also been active on a provincial scale, participating in the Best of Northern Alberta by Alberta Society of Artists, Beyond the Patch by the Art Gallery of Alberta travelling show, and the New Wave by CARFAC. You can see his show online, or purchase his art at the Bugera Matheson Gallery in Edmonton.

To see or purchase his work, visit Kritsana Naowakhun’s website at www.kritsana2005.wixsite.com/kritsana-art, or follow him on Instagram: @artbykritsana. Find his art or classes on Facebook at Art by Kritsana Naowakhun, or Art Class with Kritsana Naowakhun at Suncor Energy for Performing Arts. 

If you’re interested in connecting to the local arts community, follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn (@artscouncilwb), or visit the website at www.artscouncilwb.ca.

July 2, 2020

Statement of Solidarity

Arts Council Wood Buffalo has spent time listening, learning, and reflecting on the events in the United States, in Canada, and in our own community, with respect to equality and diversity. As an organization, we continuously strive to better our systems to be inclusive, equitable, and support diversity.  We have made some progress, but we are complicit in the systemic racism that exists when we do not speak out against it.

We support and will show our solidarity for Black and Indigenous artists and acknowledge the trauma that has and is experienced by all BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, and persons with disabilities. We recognize that intergenerational trauma is real and commit to being part of the change needed to achieve justice and equality.

Our organization has taken time to reflect and identify the most meaningful way to inform and equip our team to recognize the struggles that are very real for so many members of our community, and to respond in a way that demonstrates our commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equity.  

The Board of Directors and Staff of Arts Council Wood Buffalo commit to the following:

  • Staff and Board will participate in Indigenous Awareness Training, led by an Indigenous educator and an Elder in July 2020.
  • Staff and Board will participate in Cultural Awareness Training, led by the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo in October 2020.
  • Staff and Board will continue our reconciliation journey as led by the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the teachings of Elders and Indigenous artists who have generously provided counsel.
  • Staff and Board will continue developing policies and practices that allow no room for racism, misogyny, or any other form of discrimination in the execution of our work. ACWB will apply the learnings from the Indigenous and Cultural Awareness Trainings, and from reviewing the Alberta Human Rights Act, into these policies.
  • Staff and Board will actively listen, learn, and continue the conversation.

The arts are a powerful tool to educate us and give a voice to those affected by the struggles of institutionalized discrimination. The arts empower, activate, heal, inspire, and enrich us. The arts connect us and are an integral part of healthy communities. Arts Council Wood Buffalo will continue to work with all artists and community members to support the growth and success of a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive arts community.

Please also see ‘Acknowledgements’ from our website.

June 18, 2020

June 2020’s Centre Stage with Tiffany Antinozzi

Considering all that has been happening in the world, artists like Tiffany Antinozzi are essential to the community. “I believe we can heal through creativity, and that’s what I want to share.”

This local visual and healing artist uses her talents to connect with the community and support others. “If I can inspire one person to follow their dream, to try something they always wanted, or to heal a wound, then I am on the right track. I want to inspire people to believe in themselves!”

Antinozzi was born in Montreal and travelled across Canada many times as a youngster. It was through these experiences that she first got into the arts: “When I was younger, we travelled quite a bit, and one of the easiest things I could do anywhere was drawing.”

She spent hours and hours of her youth drawing while on the road. When she was 18 and living in Montreal, her aunt encouraged her to get into painting, gifting Antinozzi with oil paints and canvas. “I have been madly in love with painting ever since.”

She has also been using art to explore and open her mind. “I use essential oils and sacred geometry along with sacred teachings,” says Antinozzi. “My goal is to inspire people to ask the tough questions and to seek out wisdom and authenticity.”

Her family has been coming to Fort McMurray since the 70’s, and in 2007, she moved to the region with her “new little family.” “Since being in Fort McMurray, I have received so much love and support through different projects I have done.”

One such project was a large mural at the Bill Woodward School in Anzac. She painted another project for Pata’s Playhouse, a loving learning space for children on the Fort McMurray No. 468 First Nation Gregoire Lake Reserve. She also completed window paintings for the Salvation Army to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“This project gave me an opportunity to connect with many people I might not have. The gratitude and love I felt from these souls was so special.”

Through her art, she was able to connect to people, to a cause, to her community, and more. “Doing large projects really fuels my fire. I help others by making someone’s vision come to life, but also being part of the community working on important causes.”

Keep an eye out for Antinozzi’s upcoming shows. She’ll be taking part in Alberta Cultures Days in September and has an upcoming show in The Kirschner Family Community Art Gallery at MacDonald Island Park. Follow Tiffany Antinozzi on Facebook to see her art and healing activities: @the-artsy-oiler. If you’re interested in connecting to the local arts community, follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit the website at www.artscouncilwb.ca.

June 8, 2020

ACWB Annual General Meeting: June 25, 2020

Please join ACWB Board of Directors and Staff at our 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, June 25, 2020. This year, we’ll be hosting our AGM via Zoom webinar from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Link to the AGM Zoom Meeting

Save the date and bring some snacks as we highlight the successes of 2019 and look forward to what’s in store for 2020. There will be a special presentation revealing the theme of our 5th Annual Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards (a.k.a. Buffys), as well as a Member Q&A session at the close of the event.

All members in good standing (i.e., membership must be active and up to date) will receive a link to the AGM Zoom webinar via a reminder email sent out June 18, 2020, and again on the day of the AGM.

Click the following links to find the 2019 AGM Agenda Package and 2019 Approved Financial Statements. View the 2019 Annual Report and previous reports on the About Us page and scroll to the bottom under Publications & Reports.

Thank you to those who completed a Proxy Voting Form and returned it by June 24 via email to [email protected].

Any questions? Contact [email protected]

Please be sure your membership is up to date and active. If you’re not sure, please contact Hanna Fridhed at [email protected].

We look forward to seeing you there.

Link to the AGM Zoom Meeting

June 5, 2020

COVID-19 restrictions have Fort McMurray artists concerned about long-term support

Original post from Fort McMurray Today on June 3, 2020 and written by Laura Beamish. View original article HERE.

Local arts organizations are concerned about their long-term survival as public health restrictions meant to fight COVID-19 remain. It is not known when those restrictions will lift.

“A lot of theatre artists rely on the theatre arts for their mental health and general well-being. It’s a crucial component in many people’s lives. When we don’t know what the future holds… it can be really difficult,” said Hanna Fridhed, artistic director of the local theatre company Theatre; Just Because.

At the same time, the quarantines have stressed how important the arts are, she argues, as people consume more music, movies and TV shows during the pandemic.

Others have embraced new hobbies, such as photography, painting or playing an instrument. People have posted messages and drawings in the windows of homes or on sidewalks with chalk.

Locally, many artists play live shows or showcase their artwork online.

“That’s where we’ve looked now during this pandemic and isolation and quarantine,” she said. “We look to the arts for an outlet for a means to escape, for a means to connect, to keep us all on the healthier side of the mental health spectrum.”

Financially, Fridhed says the arts scene is going to be facing a tough battle. Support for theatre programs has slowly declined during the past few years, she said, affecting their budgets. At Keyano College, for instance, the theatre cannot afford its $2-million annual operating costs.

“I don’t think it’s because the support isn’t there,” she said. “I think a lot of people don’t know how desperately the support is needed right now and we’re trying to support so many.”

Liana Wheeldon, Executive Director of the Arts Council Wood Buffalo, also hopes the pandemic rouses the community to support local arts.

Wheeldon said competing for grant funding funding in 2021 will be difficult. Fort McMurray will have to compete with the arts scenes in larger cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary for dwindling federal and provincial grants.

The shutdown has also impacted people who make a full-time living off the arts.

When the pandemic shut down Kim Hurley’s Generation Dance Studio she was worried she would be unable to pay more than $10,000 a month for rent.

Some government resources have helped, but she’s had to look at alternative ways to keep her programming going.

Hurley started hosting four daily zoom classes for students. She’s also working with students one-on-one.

However, the studio is located in the basement of the River City Centre, which flooded in April. Hurley says rebuild costs are estimated to be roughly $400,000. Insurance will only cover approximately $60,000.

Some online fundraisers have started, but Hurley is concerned about where she will have classes if the studio has not been repaired when it becomes safe to reopen. For now, Hurley expects the studio to be ready in September.

“It scares me because I think, well I’ll need the clients to have seasonal monthly income in order to afford any place,” she said.

Hurley is looking at other options, including spaces at Keyano Theatre or MacDonald Island Park.

Despite some worries, parents still want to register their children. She is confident the studio will survive, even if the near future is going to be a struggle.

“I need space, I need human interaction. We’re artists, this is what we crave for and you’re not getting fulfilled right now,” she said.

For now, organizations such as Theatre; Just Because and Arts Council Wood Buffalo continue moving programs online.

Along with online courses, the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts is looking at having small, in-person groups as measures get lifted. They’ve also hosted live performances and discussions with musicians.

“If the arts can’t be creative and problem solve, we’re really in trouble, so we’ve been able to rise to that,” said Wheeldon.

June 4, 2020

May 2020’s Centre Stage with Ashley Freimark

Ashley Freimark has a simple approach to the arts: “My theory has always been, try everything!”

Nowadays, Freimark mostly focuses on visual and performing arts, but over the years she has been passionate about all of the elements of theatre: acting, directing, writing, stage managing, and costuming. She even dabbles in guitar and vocal performance. “I’ve written three songs so far, my first regarding my experience losing my grandfather.” 

Freimark moved to Fort McMurray for the first time in 1996, when she was two-years old, and spent the majority of her childhood and teenage years in the region. Freimark was introduced to the arts through the school’s music program while attending Dr. K. A. Clark School. 

Following that experience, she wanted to be involved in the arts and began exploring writing and acting. She even considered a career as an arts teacher. “No matter what path I took, theatre and the arts were right there all along.”

She left Fort McMurray in 2008, but her love of the arts continued to flourish in Edmonton. Eventually however, her experiences in Fort McMurray brought her back. “Truth be told, I never imagined I would ever move back,” said Freimark, “but after meeting my current boyfriend (who, fun fact, was my school crush from grade 6 to 9), I ended up moving back in 2018 to be closer to him.”

“Fort McMurray has been such an integral part of my life,” says Freimark. “It was such a wonderful surprise to find so many more opportunities when I moved back to the community that first fuelled my love of the arts.”

Freimark is astounded by the growth and support she has seen in the local arts community. “Everyone is so welcoming and open to new ideas and new faces. It’s like I found my family away from home all over again, which is very motivational to just go out there and do what I want to do.”

Freimark has wasted no time since she came back to the community. As a multi-disciplinary artist, she started to get into painting as a hobby, but nowadays, is looking at painting more seriously. She also spends her time volunteering for the local theatre community. 

Until local events were cancelled or postponed in March due to social-distancing efforts, she was an assistant stage manager for “The Great Gatsby” at Keyano Theatre, and directing a self-written play entitled “Embrace” for the ADFA One-Act Theatre Festival. 

“I’m a big mental health advocate,” says Freimark, “having dealt with anxiety and depression ever since I was a teenager.” The theme of mental health inspired Freimark’s play, “Embrace,” and she wrote parts of the script in the midst of anxiety attacks. “It’s been a really freeing experience writing the script.”

Stay tuned for the rescheduled ADFA One-Act Theatre Festival to see her play, or follow Ashley Freimark on Facebook and Instagram to see her art: @fantasiefreimarkcreations. If you’re interested in connecting to the local arts community, follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit the website at www.artscouncilwb.ca.

May 1, 2020

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday – May 5, 2020

#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity. On May 5, 2020, all Canadians are invited to demonstrate the power of kindness and generosity as part of an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

Giving Tuesday through the Arts in Wood Buffalo

ACWB is inviting Wood Buffalo residents, businesses, and organizations to participate in Giving Tuesday on a local scale by becoming an Arts Champion. This movement aims to support the ongoing response to COVID-19, recovery from flooding in downtown Fort McMurray, and the well-being of residents across the region.

Creativity and artistic activities are effective strategies for making sense of chaos. You can support yourself and others through the arts by being an ACWB member, sponsor, donor, or volunteer. Take part in this regional movement and ACW-Be an Arts Champion for Wood Buffalo.

What is an Arts Champion?

An Arts Champion for the Wood Buffalo region is an ACWB member, sponsor, donor, or volunteer. See below for the six ways you can become an Arts Champion.

Why be an Arts Champion?

Countless studies show that the arts contribute to a better quality of life. Arts and creativity also provide opportunity for professional development, and healthy ways to bring communities together – even at a distance.

The arts help make a space for everyone’s voice. We can all be part of the conversations that will make our lives better and create equal access to programming in our region, so we are all on equal footing to be successful.

The support of Arts Champions will help ACWB advocate to all levels of government for the arts. In addition, Arts Champions help ACWB to work with other arts organizations across the province and country to support the Wood Buffalo region. 

Not an Artist, but want to be an Arts Champion?

You don’t need to be an artist to be an Arts Champion. All you need is a passion for making our artistic community more inclusive. You don’t even need to identify with the word ‘artist’ to support creativity, culture, conversation, and connection for everyone in the region.

ACWB Membership Bank

Everyone can be an Arts Champion, but not everyone has the financial means to support the arts. So we have created a new Membership Bank to help ensure everyone can be an Arts Champion. Financial donations made to ACWB in May 2020 will go towards the Membership Bank. This will 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.

How to Access the Membership Bank

Are you a Wood Buffalo resident with a desire to be an Arts Champion? Send an email to the ACWB Engagement Coordinator, Will Collins, at [email protected] or call 587-674-1625 x.104 to access the bank of free 1-year memberships. He will get in touch with you so you can register (for free), and we can get your contact information to activate your membership.

Tax Benefits for Donations

Financial donations to the Membership Bank will result in two things: 1) membership opportunities for those that don’t currently have a membership; 2) a tax receipt for donations of $50 and more, so it can be claimed on your tax return.

Six Ways to be an Arts Champion

1) Donate to ACWBWe’re a registered charity and you’ll get a tax receipt for donations of $50 and above. Plus that donation will go towards our Membership Bank. Click on the PayPal icon below to donate.

2) Sponsor programs or Awards. You can sponsor an award for the annual Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards (held in the Fall each year). You or your business can sponsor one of our existing programs, or pitch a new program that supports the arts community. To pitch a new program idea, contact the ACWB Programs Manager, Luay Eljamal, at [email protected] or (587) 674-1625 ext. 102. To sponsor an award or program, visit our Support Us page to see opportunities.

3) Buy a membership. Buy a membership for yourself or your organization. New memberships purchased between now and November 30, 2020, will receive an additional two months for free. (That’s 14 months in total.)

4) Renew your membership.Due to the financial pressures on the community from the COVID-19 situation, we are deferring active membership renewal payments until November 30, 2020. You will remain an active member until then, and we’ll follow up with you in November to help you stay connected to the arts community. However, you’re also welcome to pay for your membership renewal should it come up before November.

5) Apply to the Membership Bank. Do you want to become a member, but can’t afford membership fees? Send an email to the ACWB Engagement Coordinator, Will Collins, at [email protected]a or call 587-674-1625 x.104 to access the bank of free 1-year memberships. He will get in touch with you so you can register (for free), and we can get your contact information to activate your membership.

6) Volunteer with ACWB. Sometimes we need volunteers help to deliver programs and events. Sign up to be added to our volunteer database. We’ll contact you when we have opportunities.

Thank You for being an Arts Champion

On behalf of the ACWB Board of Directors and Staff, thank you for contributing to a remarkable quality of life through the arts by being an Arts Champion.

Questions about how to ACW-Be an Arts Champion?

Contact the ACWB Engagement Coordinator, Will Collins, at [email protected] or 587-674-1625 ext.104

Apply to sit on ACWB Board – Position: Director – Métis

Deadline for applications: Monday, May 25, 2020

Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) is currently looking to fill one position on its voluntary Board of Directors representing the following portfolio: Director – Métis. ACWB is a charitable organization with a mandate to support the success and growth of the Arts. The Board is made up of eleven members from the Wood Buffalo region, representing different aspects of the arts and business sectors. 

The Board meets in-person once per month to set the policy and direction of the organization with the long-term vision that the arts are integral to a remarkable quality of life. 

Qualifications 

  • At least 18 years of age 
  • Resident of Wood Buffalo 
  • Must be committed to the principles, vision, and goals of ACWB 
  • A combination of education and experience in their respective area with an understanding and passion for the arts in Wood Buffalo
  • Must hold a membership card with one of the Wood Buffalo Métis Locals; or, hold Métis Membership card and be a permanent resident in Wood Buffalo; or, self-identify as a Métis person and be a permanent resident in Wood Buffalo

This position will be elected by the ACWB Membership at the Arts Council Wood Buffalo Annual General Meeting in June 2020 as per ACWB by-laws.


Questions? For more information on Arts Council Wood Buffalo, please contact Executive Director, Liana Wheeldon at [email protected] or 587-674-1625 x.100. 

To apply, please complete the Board Application Form under the Careers section on or website by Monday, May 25, 2020.

April 8, 2020

April 2020’s Centre Stage with James Ritchie

“Some of the hardest workers in the world are in Wood Buffalo,” says local visual artist, James Ritchie. Work ethic is one of the biggest lessons he has taken from being an artist in the region. 

While some professionals get up early (or late, depending on the shift) to catch a bus out to site, this professional artist is also known to get up as early as 4 a.m. to go out to his garage studio and work for up to 12 to 14 hours a day. 

“I figure that if I’m going to live here, I need to bust my butt just like everyone else does,” says Ritchie. 

Nowadays, he’s making a living as a visual artist in Wood Buffalo. His home studio offers privacy and few distractions, so he’s very productive even though he says he still has a lot of work to catch up on. Some of his current projects include commissioned paintings, works for local non-profits like Fuse Social’s Timeraiser event, or an ongoing project for the Fort McMurray Golf Course.

Working with oils and acrylics, Ritchie takes a visionary, surrealistic approach to painting abstracts, animals and nature. Growing up in Nova Scotia, he spent a lot of time outdoors. “I’ve always had a special relationship with the forest and wildlife.”

After studying graphic arts out east, a two-week vacation to Vancouver morphed into a ten-year stay. While in Vancouver he continued to practice his art, participated in live painting competitions (with two Golden Brush wins), hosted corporate paint nights, and taught painting classes to at-risk youth.

“The crazy thing is, some of the kids with the most potential didn’t believe in themselves,” said Ritchie. “I was one of those kids once, so I get it. I’d like to start teaching classes in the community to gain [a better] understanding [of my own work], and eventually lead art retreats. I feel that I’ve taken punches that I can help aspiring artists avoid.” 

Not only does he want to continue growing as an artist, he also wants to continue growing as a professional. Ritchie moved to Fort McMurray about one and a half years ago to be closer to family, and taking the plunge as a full-time artist has helped him to take his work more seriously. 

He used to sell his art for relatively low prices, because he didn’t feel like he was at a professional level yet. Now that he is coming into his own as an artist, he is treating his art more like a business and learning to charge accordingly for his work. This has helped him to fund his craft and sustain a living. It also shows his audience that they are investing in quality. 
Plans are in the works for his first exhibition in Fort McMurray for later in 2020. Follow James Ritchie on Facebook and Instagram to see his art, inquire about sales, and get updates: @dr_ritchie. If you’re interested in connecting to the local arts community, follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit the website at www.artscouncilwb.ca.

April 1, 2020

ACWB Hiring Rural Arts Support Liaison

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: RURAL ARTS SUPPORT LIAISON

Job Status: Fixed term through December 2020, 40 hours per week, $28 per hour

Deadline to apply: April 5, 2020


Does the idea of connecting with community and using your organization skills, humour, and passion for sharing the arts, cultures, and traditions on a daily basis excite you? Are you looking for a meaningful job in the nonprofit world supporting the rural and Indigenous communities in sharing their knowledge, traditions, and values? Are you an idea person who takes the time to turn those ideas into set plans that you enjoy executing? Apply to join the ACWB team and use your skills to make a difference in a growing arts community today!

About the Role:

ACWB is seeking a motivated, multi-task oriented individual, comfortable working independently and in a team environment, with experience working in rural and Indigenous communities, including knowledge of Indigenous culture, traditions, and values, to fill the fixed-term position of Rural Arts Support Liaison.

Working closely with the Arts Recovery Project Coordinator, this individual will work with rural residents to co-envision and develop new initiatives, programs, and services to meet the unique needs of the rural communities, while enabling community-at-large to engage with the arts, crafts, traditions, and values of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Click here to download full position description.

Responsibilities:

Community Engagement –

  • Act as a resource and liaison for the arts, working closely with local artists, artisans, knowledge keepers, traditional teachers, arts and non-arts organizations, as appropriate in matters related to program creation and delivery.
  • Coordinate advisory and consultative requests from ACWB Members and non-members.
  • Identify appropriate partnerships and events to help build ACWB’s community profile and its programs in the rural communities.

Program Planning and Development –

  • Working with rural residents, develop meaningful supports, programs, and services to support artists’, artisans’, knowledge keepers’, and traditional teachers’ needs.
  • Ensure that program activities respect and integrate the knowledge, culture, traditions, and values of the First Nation and Metis peoples by working closely with those community members.

Staff and Partner Management –

  • Working with the Arts Recovery Coordinator, supervise any program staff, contractors, or volunteers that may be hired to assist with program initiatives

This position might be for you if:

  • You have the ability to collaborate on several projects at once, and you have no problem managing multiple assignments simultaneously.
  • You are a team player, keeping effective communication with management, and able to organize your time to meet deadlines with ease.
  • You enjoy collaborating, learning, and sharing with diverse groups.

DESIRED QUALITIES

Strong candidates will possess a combination of the following:

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Experience with program delivery and evaluation, and proficient in the use of computers
  • Excellent interpersonal relationship and communication skills (both written and oral)
  • Knowledge of First Nations and Metis cultures, traditions, and values is an asset
  • Knowledge of the Wood Buffalo arts scene
  • Arts enthusiast with a strong sense of fun!

HOW TO APPLY

To apply, please submit the following by email:

  • A one-page letter of application that addresses the position expectations
  • A resume of no more than four pages

Email to: [email protected]

If email is unavailable, please call 780.381.6898 and speak to Sharon to make other arrangements.

Arts Council Wood Buffalo thanks all applicants for their interest in this employment opportunity. Only those candidates considered for the position will be contacted. The position will remain open until the successful candidate is hired.

Arts Council hires on the basis of merit and we are committed to the principle of equity in employment. We welcome diversity and encourage applications from all qualified persons. Preference will be given to Indigenous residents of Wood Buffalo’s rural communities.

About Arts Council Wood Buffalo:

Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) was established to raise the profile of the arts and artists in our region. Our mission is to support the growth and success of the arts in recognition that they are integral to a remarkable quality of life.

ACWB offers a variety of services and events that: build the capacity of our local artists to compete and thrive; create collaborations between artists, arts organizations, non-profits, and business; and, provide opportunities for the community to express itself through the arts.

Click here to download full position description.

March 11, 2020

March 2020’s Centre Stage with Dorothy Bentley

There has been a surge of awareness of the literary arts in Wood Buffalo over the past few years. It’s not that there are more literary artists in the community, but rather more literary artists are coming out of their writer’s dens to showcase their work and contribute to the local arts community.

One such artist is Dorothy Bentley. Since the 80’s, Bentley has called Fort McMurray home, and throughout her education, she excelled in creative writing. A high school English teacher noticed Bentley’s talents and pointed her toward courses at Alberta Arts and Culture. Bentley was also encouraged to prepare a children’s book manuscript to submit to an agent. That encouragement spurred her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts  in English Literature. 

While her working life took her down the path of writing articles, columns, and producing web content, she wanted to focus on poetry and prose. “It has taken a large shift in my thinking to allow myself to write that which satisfies my own heart. It takes a willingness to be vulnerable. As a result, I am now an emerging writer of poetry, short stories, a children’s picture book, (and I have several unpublished novels in a drawer).”

When asked what it’s like to be an artist in Wood Buffalo, Bentley says, “allowing the landscape and the community to shape one’s artistic practice has been part of my writer’s journey, which is what my picture book, Summer North Coming, is about. The poetry recounts the seasonal changes and activities specific to this area. Part of what most creatives do, I believe, is find beauty and significance of place wherever they find themselves.”

Bentley boasts about the local literary arts community: “There have been and there continue to be some great things happening in Wood Buffalo for writers, such as calls, contests, and fairs through Arts Council, the Words in Motion Poetry Contest, the Library’s (WBRL) writing classes, the ongoing opportunity to submit to NorthWord Literary magazine, of course, and Multicultural Association’s upcoming offering (Western Perspectives Festival).” 

Up until a few years ago, Bentley never had a consistent writers’ group or attended regular poetry workshops. Now she’s part of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta (WGA) and has been to several conferences outside of the region. She’s also a WGA advocate: “I found belonging to the Guild connected me to a larger, vibrant writing community.” Once a writer becomes a member of the WGA, they receive a bi-weekly newsletter with training and publication opportunities (many accessible online) and a whole range of other services such as help with manuscripts and the submission process. This brings connectivity and equipping to a new level.”

Bentley was recently appointed the Regional Facilitator for the WGA and will be hosting a variety of literary workshops in Fort McMurray, including weekly Write Nights on Tuesday evenings at the WBRL, which provides time and space for writers to create. Those interested in learning more about the upcoming workshops can connect through the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Wood Buffalo Facebook group and through the WGA website.

If you’re interested in connecting to the local arts community, follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. Visit the website at www.artscouncilwb.ca

March 1, 2020