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October 2020’s Centre Stage with Rob Hickey

The 2020 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards are set to air on October 17, and the graphics for this year’s steampunk theme were created by local illustrator and comic artist, Rob Hickey.

“I was very excited to work on the Arts Awards, because steampunk is such a cool and challenging theme,” said Hickey, “but I knew I could nail it. I wanted to find a balance between honouring the chaos and detail demanded for a steampunk aesthetic, while creating graphics that were clear, readable and easy on the eyes.”

Rob Hickey was born and raised in Fort McMurray. “Other than some college courses in Toronto, I’ve lived and worked here my whole life.”  

As an artist, the medium that interests Hickey the most is storytelling and comics. “I am an illustrator and sequential artist with a specific focus on telling stories with LGBT characters.”

“I loved cartoons as a kid and I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember. I was introduced to a large and diverse artist community online as a teen, and I’ve been involved with and inspired by it ever since.”

When Hickey isn’t doing freelance digital illustrations for productions such as the 2020 Buffy Awards, they are also the Art Director for Twisted Gears Studios, a local production company. 

“We have two ongoing projects that are returning from COVID-related hiatus. They’re great fun for me because they are ‘actual play’ podcasts, which means the work I create for them is decided by the players’ choices and rolls of the dice.”

“Additionally,” says Hickey, “we are planning to film a short, which I am co-writing and directing.”

Working in a smaller community has allowed Hickey to connect with and get to know folks more personally than they would elsewhere. Hickey is also getting more exposure to different kinds of art. 

“I know painters, crafters, musicians, and videographers here. I’ve had the opportunity to try out different things because of this, like the above mentioned short film. This small community has been a great help in regards to looking for work and projects as well. Word of mouth certainly goes far here.  That’s how I’ve gotten most of my work.”

“We are facing such tough times here,” says Hickey, “but there are many incredible people pushing for more engagement and connection between different groups of artists and with the city at large.”

See Hickey’s geared-up graphics and characters embedded throughout the 2020 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards on October 17. You can also keep up to date with their projects and artistic endeavours at robhickeyart.com or twistedgearsstudios.com.

Visit artscouncilwb.ca/buffys for details on where to watch this year’s cinematic steampunk Buffy Awards experience via Facebook, YouTube, or Shaw Spotlight. Connect to the local arts community and follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn (@artscouncilwb).

September 28, 2020

Month of the Artist

Did you know September is Month of the Artist in Alberta?

Did you also know that Alberta is the first and remains the only province in Canada to dedicate a month to artists?

Month of the Artist is an annual celebration of artists and the value they bring to the province, both socially and economically.

Now let’s take a few minutes to do what artists do best: use our imagination!

Can you imagine space in Wood Buffalo that is a dedicated centre for artists to gather and work on their craft? What if that same space was also a venue for performances of all disciplines? How about a workshop space for artistic and professional development, a place to showcase the creations made by local talent, and for the community to gather and celebrate creative energy?

Are you still with me? 

Now let’s imagine that same place could also be used to host events, festivals, markets, and offer opportunities for the community to engage in the arts together.

Can you envision that?

What we have just imagined is an arts incubator. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our community had an arts incubator that could support the arts in the ways we’ve just imagined?

Arts Council Wood Buffalo is currently working on realizing this for our region. We are in the early stages, and you can participate in this process and help shape this idea into a reality. 

You can help by exercising your imagination and sharing your thoughts in ACWB’s Arts Incubator survey.  Open until October 6th, 2020, you can take the Arts Incubator survey and share it with your friends, family, colleagues, and social media followers. Your feedback will help identify what is needed in this arts incubator and who will use it. This information can then be used as we study the former Landmark Cinemas theatre on Manning Avenue to see if that space could be re-purposed into an arts incubator for the community.

Your feedback will help show potential funders, community leaders and decision makers that we need an arts incubator in the community. Your feedback will help Arts Council Wood Buffalo when we apply for grants, funding opportunities, sponsorships and other support needed to realize this arts incubator we have just imagined.

Let’s celebrate Month of the Artist by showing Alberta and Canada that it’s a year-round event in Wood Buffalo.

Fill out the survey here by October 6.  Learn more about our plans for the arts incubator here

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

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

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] 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

May 1, 2020

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

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

2019 Buffys a Rousing Success!

Midnight Coffeehouse: A Showcase of Wood Buffalo Talent

(Fort McMurray, AB – October 21, 2019) Saturday October 19 marked the annual Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards presented by Arts Council Wood Buffalo; a cool and classy evening that celebrates local artists and showcases the diversity of the arts community in our region. Artists, art groups, supporters and – of course – those nominated for an award, gathered at the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, which was transformed into the weird and wonderful artistic era of the Beat Generation.

The 2019 Arts Awards, also known as the Buffys, were once again a showcase of the arts, celebrating almost 70 nominees through 14 award presentations, and presenting several live performances, taking place in two locations within SECPA. The black box theatre, renamed “The Club” and decorated to be more intimate, hosted the pre- and post-show performances and festivities, while the gymnasium was transformed into “The Coffeehouse”, a place where great minds came together to connect and share. Everywhere you looked, the space was alive and buzzing with things to see, hear, and eat. Guests even dressed in the funky style of the beatniks, berets included!

“We are so pleased with this year’s awards! The Buffys are an awareness program as much as they recognize the incredible impact the arts have in our community, and we’re proud to have showcased the variety of artists and creative professionals that live and work right here in Wood Buffalo,” says ACWB Executive Director Liana Wheeldon.

Throughout the evening, guests were treated to the abundance of talent present in our community. The diverse and uniquely collaborative performances included dance, comedy, flow arts, spoken word, pantomime, and multiple musical genres. Special behind-the-scenes video shorts gave guests a glimpse into the artistic process of getting ready for the awards event. The Buffys continue to be a place for artists to experiment and perform in ways you often can’t see anywhere else.

The awards themselves were beautifully handcrafted dolls, created by local artist Sedef Uzer Prakash. The awards were handknitted in the Japanese amigurumi style of small, stuffed yarn creatures. They were a whimsical tribute to the contributions of our arts community. There were fourteen awards handed out altogether, including the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Valerie Gondek and the Arts Champion Award presented to Rick Kirschner.

“It’s so inspiring to organize the Buffys each year. Learning about all the nominees, seeing the artists showcase their talents, and watching the delighted reactions of the audience makes the long hours of preparations all worthwhile” says Diana Moser, the ACWB Programs Manager.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners for making the 2019 Buffys possible! Thank you to our Midnight Sponsor Fort McMurray International Airport; Presenting Sponsors Suncor, Syncrude, Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation, and the Friends of the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts; Media Sponsors Country 93.3 and 100. 5 Cruz FM and Mix 103.7; Arts Supporter MLA Tany Yao; and Supporting Sponsors Boston Pizza, Campbell’s Music, LaPrairie Crane, Staples, and UNIFOR.

October 22, 2019

Wood Buffalo Named Feature Celebration Site

Wood Buffalo is proudly named a Feature Celebration Site for the 2019 Alberta Culture Days! 

“This is an honour for our region,” says ACWB Executive Director Liana Wheeldon. “We take a truly collaborative approach to the planning and execution of events for this initiative, as is the hallmark of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage champions in our community. Showcasing our breadth of talent through creative programming, along with highlighting the history and multiculturalism of our region, allows us to demonstrate that the arts are essential in creating a balanced, happy, and healthy community.” 

Thank you to MLA Laila Goodridge, RMWB Acting Mayor Mike Allen, Deputy Mayor Jane Stroud, Keyano College President and CEO Trent Keough and Vice President, Academic Fred Russell, Sheri Donovan with Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, Alan Roberts, Director of Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre, along with members of the Alberta Culture Days in Wood Buffalo Planning Committee for joining us for the Feature Celebration Site placard presentation. The Divine Group of India invited participants to try their hand at a Rangoli art demonstration.

September 24, 2019

2019 Buffy tickets now on sale!

2019 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards: Midnight Coffeehouse tickets for sale!

(Fort McMurray, AB – September 19, 2019) Each year Arts Council Wood Buffalo highlights the richness of our growing arts scene and celebrates the achievements of local artists through the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards (or the “Buffys” for short). Over the past 4 years, the awards have established a signature midnight themed event drawing inspiration from different art movements. This year, we will revive the 1950s Beat Generation, a time defined by performance art, major shifts in poetry and fiction writing, small ensemble experimental jazz, and abstract expressionism in visual art.

An awards show unlike any other in the region, the Buffys will be filled with extraordinary performances, food and drinks, and a spectacular awards showcase celebrating our local artists and arts organizations.

This year’s Buffys takes place on October 19 at the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts. Guests will be treated to works of art by local artists in all artistic disciplines, the always expanding candy bar will be making an appearance, there will be never-seen before acts, and – of course – the highly anticipated award presentations. There is never a dull moment at the Buffys!

The Buffys builds awareness of the incredible contribution artists make to Wood Buffalo, and invest in the future of our growing arts community by supporting our most exceptional artists. The recognition received by each nominee and award recipient will raise their profile, build their portfolio, and allow them to compete and thrive as an artist within our community and beyond the borders of Wood Buffalo.

Tickets are $40 for ACWB members and $50 for the general public, available at https://buffys2019.eventbrite.ca. The pre-show begins at 7:30 PM, with the main awards showcase at 9:00 PM, followed by an after-party. Celebrate our local artists, enjoy thrilling new performances and exhibitions, and be a part of an award show unlike any other in the region! For more information about ACWB and the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts program, visit http://bit.ly/buffys2019.

September 19, 2019

ACWB Gains Charitable Status

Arts Council Wood Buffalo is proud to announce the change of our status to a registered charity under the Income Tax Act. Working with the Canada Revenue Agency, Corporate Registry Alberta, and the ACWB Board, Staff, and Membership through the application process has made this change possible.

Arts Council Executive Director Liana Wheeldon says: “We are so excited at the opportunities that achieving charitable status will bring to our organization and our arts community. This opens granting streams to ACWB that will ultimately allow us to serve the region and its artists even more meaningfully.”

Becoming a registered charity will allow for more opportunities for individuals and groups to share their support of the arts in our community and a greater impact on the community as a whole. The arts are a crucial component for a well-balanced and thriving region, and ACWB works to provide support to all facets of the arts community.

Board Chair Dave Boutilier had this to say: “We started this initiative after the Wood Buffalo arts community first described the future to us: one where artists are free to create and grow without being forced to relocate. This, in turn, solidifies a community healing from a disaster. This change is a huge step in moving ACWB towards that future, allowing us to diversify our funding, and providing more education and opportunities to the regions’ artists.

This milestone isn’t just for us, but for the whole community, so celebrate and enjoy!”

Arts Council Wood Buffalo looks forward to continuing to support the growth and success of the arts in support of our vision that the arts are integral to a remarkable quality of life. Changes to our donation procedure and sponsorship opportunities will be available in the coming months. Stay tuned! For more information about Arts Council Wood Buffalo, visit www.artscouncilwb.ca or follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedInYouTube and Twitter.

July 23, 2019

June 2019’s Centre Stage with Alex Durocher

Interview with Alexandra Durocher for the monthly snapd Wood Buffalo artist feature; Center Stage with Arts Council Wood Buffalo! To view the full article online visit snapd Wood Buffalo’s website.

Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alexandra Durocher was exposed to a variety of performing arts experiences that jump-started her own artistic career. Alexandra started dancing when she was twelve years old and also found her way onto the Keyano Theatre stage as a young actor. She fell in love with all of it and pursued her development in the arts as she grew older. Alexandra studied Visual and Performing Arts – Drama at Keyano College, and then went to Edmonton to study Arts and Cultural Management at Grant MacEwan University. She returned to Fort McMurray and joined the inaugural team that opened the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts (SECPA), where she is currently the Assistant Manager. Alexandra was also instrumental in opening UpTown! Music & Dance Studio at SECPA, where she now teaches dance part-time.

Alexandra joined the ACWB Board of Directors in 2018, something she says has been a learning experience: “Being on the board has allowed me to see that all of the Arts have the same needs, and that we all need to come together to make them happen. I decided to become involved because I wanted to make a difference in my discipline but have learned that we all need to work together to make a difference everywhere.”

Being a part of this community her entire life, Alexandra has experienced all the ups and downs. This has only strengthened her belief in the connectedness of the arts and the community: “The arts community here is strong, resilient, and ever-growing, but it can be a struggle at times as there aren’t many readily available opportunities. However, the people of Fort McMurray are always ready to help bring or create different opportunities to our community.”

In addition to her role as an arts administrator, Alexandra is happy to be a working artist in this community: “Being a dancer and choreographer in Wood Buffalo is exhilarating! With Fort McMurray being such a transient town, so many different choreographers have come in and out spreading their knowledge to all they teach. I have been blessed to teach here for many years and learn from many of these different instructors to add to my repertoire, so that the love of dance can be carried on in all that I teach.”

Arts Council Wood Buffalo is hosting their 2019 Annual General Meeting on June 13, 6 PM – 8 PM at The District Recording Studio in Composite High School. There will be light refreshments, live entertainment, and we will be announcing the theme for the 2019 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards! We will also be electing new Directors to the Board. To find out more about ACWB and our programs, visit www.artscouncilwb.ca.

June 1, 2019