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2024 Artist in Residence Showcase

Arts Council Wood Buffalo invites you to join us as we celebrate the work created by our 2024 Artist in Residence, Michelle Wilson, and Suncor Indigenous Artist in Residence,  Dan Cardinal McCartney.

 

Join us Thursday, May 16 from 6:00pm-8:00pm in the art gallery at the Keyano Theatre and Art Centre and see the works created by our two resident artists, alongside contributions from Wood Buffalo community members. The showcase will feature live music, light refreshments, and is free to attend.

 

About the Program

 

Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s Artist in Residence Program follows a traditional residency model, in which professional artists spend time creating work inspired by the environment, culture, and people of Wood Buffalo. The Suncor Indigenous Artist Program endeavours to make the program more equitable and accessible to Indigenous artists. Both streams run concurrently, offering opportunities for collaboration and broader learning. This year, both Resident Artists spent time in Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan, running workshops in both communities and creating art inspired by their experiences.

 

About Michelle Wilson

 

Michelle Wilson (she/her) is a neurodivergent artist, researcher and mother who currently lives in London, Ontario. She is of settler descent and her intermedia practice focuses on confronting colonial knowledge systems and conservation regimes with criticality and care. She is an organizing and founding member of the Unsettling Conservation Collective, the Coves Collective, and the (Re)mediating Soils Collective. She recently completed her SSHRC-funded doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. Currently, Michelle is an instructor in the Faculty of Design at OCADU and a postdoctoral scholar working with the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership at the University of Guelph.

 

 

About Dan Cardinal McCartney

 

Dan Cardinal McCartney is an interdisciplinary artist and emerging curator who holds a degree from AUArts (2016) in Drawing. Dan’s focus is on mixed media collage, painting, moving images, and performance. He is of Athabasca Chipewyan, Mikisew Cree, Métis, and settler family lines. Dan’s maternal family is from Fort Chipewyan and the surrounding Treaty 8 region, and he is a foster care survivor raised in the northern region of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

 

As a Two-Spirit, transgender artist, Dan sifts through patterns of intergenerational trauma, and troubles the colonial narrative of hyper individuality. He relates his personal, ongoing reconnection of his family to his yearning for gender euphoria through storytelling. Dan’s interest primarily lies in the contemporary Indigenous horror genre.

 

His work has since been featured in Fix your hearts or die at the Alberta Gallery of Art; let’s talk about sex, bb at Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, and Off-Centre: Queer Contemporary Art in the Prairies at the Dunlop in Regina. Dan is the 2021 winner of the William & Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Canadian Artists from The Hnatyshyn Foundation, alongside being awarded the Emerging Arts Management Award by the Rozsa Foundation in 2022.

 

Dan is currently the Co-Artistic Director at Stride Gallery in Calgary, AB, a Core Member of Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre, and a collective curatorial member of Window Winnipeg at Arts Space in Manitoba.

May 8, 2024

2024 Artist in Residence Program: Mapping Our Stories

Join one Resident Artist Michelle Wilson for the opportunity to connect, share stories, and create. Michelle’s two-part workshop, Mapping our Stories, will explore storytelling, memory mapping, and fibre arts, culminating in the creation of a communal artwork.

 

The first part of the workshop focuses on oral storytelling and memory mapping, where participants will share stories with one another and record audio narratives.

 

The second part of the workshop shifts to sewing interactive storytelling maps. Participants will learn sewing skills and how to integrate technology with fibre arts. This will be hands-on and collaborative, culminating in a collectively created work that will be displayed in Wood Buffalo and at the Art Gallery of Guelph and the Indigenous Art Centre in 2025, as a part of Michelle’s work with the Unsettling Conservation Collective. Participants will also recieve an honorarium for their contributions. This project is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and presented as a part of Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s Artist in Residence Program.

 

The workshops will be offered in Fort McMurray at the Heritage Village Barn on May 5rd and May 13th from 5:00pm-8:00pm. Register to be a part of this engaging and thought-provoking workshop in Fort McMurray by signing up through the Mac Calendar.

 

The workshops will also be offered in Fort Chipewyan on May 10th from 5:30pm-8:00pm and May 11th from 12:00pm-3:00pm at the Fort Chipewyan Bicentennial Museum. Those interested in registering in Fort Chipewyan can do so by calling Rural Arts Support Coordinator Donna Aubichon at (780) 381-5705.

 

May 2, 2024

2024 Artist in Residence: Dan Cardinal McCartney

Dan Cardinal McCartney is one of the artists who will be in residence in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, joining us through the Suncor Indigenous Artist Program. Dan was raised in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo and recently returned to the region when his artwork was featured in the exhibition “ᒣᐢᑲᓇᐊᐧ ᑯᑎᑯᑕᑳᐧᐤ Intersections“, curated by Jes Croucher at the Jubilee Centre Lobby. ACWB welcomes Dan back to the region from April 30-May 17, as Artist in Residence through the Suncor Indigenous Artist Program. 

 

 

ACWB: Tell us about your connection to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo and what excites you about being in residence here.

 

DCM: My connection to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is that I was born in the municipality’s Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, and raised primarily in Abasand and downtown on Alberta Drive. In my early childhood, I became part of the foster care system and was placed in different homes until landing in long-term foster care to the McCartney family. My connection runs deep to the region, as Wood Buffalo is the traditional territory of my maternal family and ancestors, including Fort Chipewyan.

 

It will be great to return to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, as the residency provides me with meaningful support as an artist and allows me to create artwork in general and within my family’s ancestral territory.

 

ACWB: How did you get your start as an interdisciplinary artist and curator? 

 

DCM: My start as a professional artist is deeply rooted in the support and guidance from others within my creative community across Alberta. It ultimately stems from my long-term foster care mother, Carolyn McCartney, who nurtured a love for art both as a parent and an early-child educator in Wood Buffalo spanning over 30 years. My aunt, Shirley Cardinal, also reminds me that I come from a long maternal line of artists, from beaders to regalia makers, oil painters, and fiddlers.

 

My journey as an interdisciplinary artist and curator began with fantastic art class teachers at Fort McMurray’s Composite High School. I then transferred to Keyano College to complete my Visual Art and Design. Erin Schwabb, my leading professor and my college classmates, profoundly influenced me during the most formative years of my art practice. I moved to Calgary in 2013 and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts at Alberta University of the Arts. Since graduating, I’ve been fortunate to exhibit across Canada.

 

Currently, I am the Co-Artistic Director at Stride Gallery, an artist-run centre gallery in downtown Calgary. I primarily work with and curate emerging artists from southern Alberta. Stride’s Executive Director started my curatorial practice, Areum Kim, encouraging me to leap curating from smaller-scale projects to organising a four-person group exhibition in our main gallery space. The exhibition I curated, Process: Presence and Resurgence, is now at Stride Gallery and will open until May 24th, 2024.

 

 

ACWB: Tell us about what you plan to do during your residency. 

 

DCM: My plan for the Suncor Indigenous Artist program is to create three mixed-media collages on wooden birch panels over the three weeks, combining new, original photographs of Fort McMurray with found collage images embedded with passages of text. I aim to honour my ancestors and the history of the land by starting each residency week by visiting and photographing near the Horse, Athabasca, and the Hanging Stone River. Each collage will represent each river.

 

In August 2023, I had the honour of showcasing my artwork, including a mixed media collage series titled “I saw the arrival”, for the group exhibition “ᒣᐢᑲᓇᐊᐧ ᑯᑎᑯᑕᑳᐧᐤ Intersections”, curated by Jes Croucher at the Jubilee Centre Lobby in Fort McMurray. The title “I Saw the Arrival” is derived from The Book of Dene, in which the Missionaries translated stories and legends from my ancestors in Suline Dene to French and then to English for a 1971 first publication. Publicly sharing my art, specifically with and for my family on our traditional territory, was incredibly meaningful.

 

For the three collages, I will carefully pull back the layers of photographs, which reveal one-of-a-kind images of birch. I need to represent the region I am from as an Indigenous person, and the birch wood is to represent the Boreal forest of Treaty 8 territory. I aim to paint passages of text from the Book of Dene between the layers of photographs, further intertwining the past and present by including the words of my ancestors. In attending the Suncor Indigenous Artist program, my main goal through my collages is to express appreciation for the land’s inherent beauty and resiliency after the 2016 wildfire.

 

I am also excited to share collage techniques by hosting art workshops in Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray during my residency and connecting with the local creative community.

 

 

ACWB: Through your residency, you will be returning to the place in which you grew up. What does it mean to you, to be able to come back to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo through your career as an artist? 

 

DCM: Returning to Fort McMurray in my career as an artist, similar to last year’s exhibition in ᒣᐢᑲᓇᐊᐧ ᑯᑎᑯᑕᑳᐧᐤ Intersections, it feels surreal and healing. My late long-term foster father, Will McCartney, a proud and hardworking provider for our family who has worked in the oilsands since the 1970s, encouraged me to commit to my full pursuit as a visual artist. I still, deep down, consider Wood Buffalo my home and cherish any time I can return.

 

As for myself, my maternal family and ancestors are from the region, so returning to the land anytime is a meaningful experience for me. It means a huge deal to me personally and professionally to return to Wood Buffalo on many levels. There is a fantastic, vibrant arts community in Wood Buffalo, and it’s great to see creative practices flourish in 2024. It’s great to see the creative successes within the place I grew up!

 

 

ACWB: Your residency will involve exploring archival images of the region. What do you hope to discover through this process?

 

DCM: I’m very interested in previous documentation of the region, spanning from buildings, transportation, people, and the landscape across visually recorded history. In part, by exploring the archives, I aim to develop a deeper understanding of the rich, vast history of the region by witnessing the changes to the region over time. I am also hoping, through a technical, artistic lens, to take note of what was recorded and the focus of the visual storytelling by photographers. As an Indigenous person from the area, I aim within my collages to create a new type of documentation through my creation. It’s important within my creative process to also visually refer back to the archival images in a direct way, not in composition and style, linking past and present in the region.

 

 

ACWB: What else do you look forward to experiencing during your time in Wood Buffalo? 

 

DCM: I’m looking forward to connecting with local community members in Wood Buffalo, including my family and friends. My participation in the Suncor Indigenous residency allows me to return to Wood Buffalo for the third time since moving to Calgary over a decade ago.

 

Heritage Village was one of my favourite places in Wood Buffalo when I was growing up. I can’t wait to revisit the historical buildings alongside newly renovated ones. I’m excited to venture along the trails in Fort McMurray that I’ve enjoyed with my family and take the plane ride to Fort Chipewyan for the first time! I love seeing familiar and new aspects within Wood Buffalo every time I visit.

 

 

ACWB: What would your advice be for aspiring and emerging artists? 

 

DCM: My advice for aspiring and emerging artists is to delve deep into the creation process, not just the end result. Each individual possesses artistic potential and should be allowed to explore, create, and share. Remember, the act of observing and experiencing life is often a crucial aspect of being an artist, both within and beyond the studio. While productivity may fluctuate, focusing on the creative process can help you navigate through waves of criticism, which can be detrimental to your creativity.

 

Try to keep your hands busy as much as you can across your chosen medium. Finding the time to create within busy schedules can be challenging. Still, even a small sketch or brainstorming map can help an artist be incredibly generative. Find trusted friends and colleagues to exchange ideas, view each other’s artwork, keep one another accountable to deadlines, and provide feedback to one another on a regular basis. Online presence is essential, but remember to venture out and meet other artists in the local community! Reaching out to others, just like artmaking, can be intimidating. Still, community building is also one of the most enriching parts of being an artist. Keep going; someone out there needs to view your art!

 

About Dan

 

Dan Cardinal McCartney is an interdisciplinary artist and emerging curator who holds a degree from AUArts (2016) in Drawing. Dan’s focus is on mixed media collage, painting, moving images, and performance. He is of Athabasca Chipewyan, Mikisew Cree, Métis, and settler family lines. Dan’s maternal family is from Fort Chipewyan and the surrounding Treaty 8 region, and he is a foster care survivor raised in the northern region of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

 

As a Two-Spirit, transgender artist, Dan sifts through patterns of intergenerational trauma, and troubles the colonial narrative of hyper individuality. He relates his personal, ongoing reconnection of his family to his yearning for gender euphoria through storytelling. Dan’s interest primarily lies in the contemporary Indigenous horror genre.

 

His work has since been featured in Fix your hearts or die at the Alberta Gallery of Art; let’s talk about sex, bb at Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, and Off-Centre: Queer Contemporary Art in the Prairies at the Dunlop in Regina. Dan is the 2021 winner of the William & Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Canadian Artists from The Hnatyshyn Foundation, alongside being awarded the Emerging Arts Management Award by the Rozsa Foundation in 2022.

 

Dan is currently the Co-Artistic Director at Stride Gallery in Calgary, AB, a Core Member of Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre, and a collective curatorial member of Window Winnipeg at Arts Space in Manitoba.

April 29, 2024

2024 Artist in Residence: Michelle Wilson

As one of the artists chosen to visit our region through ACWB’s Artist in Residence Programs, Michelle Wilson will be in residence in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo from April 30-May 17, 2024. She is an experienced arts facilitator, educator, and intermedia artist.

 

ACWB: Tell us about your connection to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo and what excites you about being in residence here.

 

MW: I began learning about Wood Buffalo six years ago while researching my PhD dissertation. I was interested in telling the story of five bison calves captured in what is now known as Saskatchewan about 150 years ago and how their kin came to be the foundation of plains bison conservation herds on Turtle Island. This story led me to learn about the transfer of plains bison to Wood Buffalo National Park, which in turn got me interested in the park’s establishment and how it has operated ever since. I have spent a great deal of time looking at archival photos and reading documents, but I have never experienced being on the Land with the people who know and love this place. I am so excited to finally spend time in Wood Buffalo with the community after so many years of knowing it only through words on a page. 

 

ACWB: How did you get your start working as an intermedia artist and researcher? 

 

MW: From a very young age, it became apparent that I had a passion for creating art. Making things was the one thing that kept me excited and motivated. Initially, I focused on photography, but I eventually realized that I needed to find the medium that could best convey the stories I wanted to tell, so I became a jack-of-all-trades. Each medium has its unique way of connecting us to specific stories and relationships, and so by utilizing those built-in attributes, I was able to strengthen my work. I became a researcher because, in my own way, I am a storyteller. By listening to the voices of community members, biologists, more-than-human beings, or voices that now haunt archives, I can facilitate stories that are not just from my perspective but stories that bring together a chorus of voices.

 

ACWB: Tell us about what you plan to do during your residency. 

 

MW: I will invite community members to join me in two connected workshops during my residency. First, we will come together to record personal stories connected to the Land in Wood Buffalo; these can be funny, moving, or even scary stories. We will make audio recordings of these stories, and then, listening back, each participant will draw a “mind map” of the story. We will translate these drawings into a single textile map in the second workshop. I am excited to work with sewers, beaders, and needle felters of all ages and skill levels. Using conductive thread and microprocessors, I will show participants how the map becomes an interactive archive playing the associated stories when touched. Each workshop will also include a time to relax, eat and get to know one another, which I am especially looking forward to.

When I am not in these workshops, adding to the map, or editing audio, I plan to make my own new stories on the land.

 

ACWB: Community engagement will be a big aspect of your residency in Wood Buffalo. What do you hope to experience through this community engagement? 

 

MW: While I have built a big part of my planned residency around listening to the community stories, I am also excited about sharing my findings on how colonial governments have practiced conservation and how the archives reveal the Park’s connection to Canada’s attempted dispossession and assimilation of Indigenous peoples. These stories serve as a testament to how settler colonialism has attempted to sever Indigenous connections to the Land. However, through the stories shared during my residency, I hope we demonstrate how community resists this severing.

 

ACWB: What else do you look forward to experiencing during your time in Wood Buffalo? 

 

MW: The COVID-19 pandemic has put many things on hold for me, including my travel plans to be around bison again. I hope they grace me with their presence on my upcoming trip. I also enjoy sewing and learning from others, but it has been a while since I have participated in a sewing circle. I am most excited about the adventure of not knowing what to expect and seeing where things take me. Above all, I am thrilled to finally experience the Land that I have spent so long imagining.

 

ACWB: What would your advice be for aspiring and emerging artists? 

 

As an aspiring or emerging artist, my advice to you may seem contradictory, but here it is: listen deeply to those around you, but don’t ask permission. As artists and individuals striving to live justly in the world, we can benefit from listening without defensiveness to those around us. Listening with humility can help us find our path to doing work that is meaningful and valuable to us. However, we should not wait for others to give us permission or validate our work. Instead, we should work on a scale that is manageable with our resources, and not wait for that grant or opportunity. Even if we have limited resources, we can start making what matters to us with integrity and passion. If we do that, the support we need will eventually find us.

 

About Michelle 

Michelle Wilson (she/her) is a neurodivergent artist, researcher and mother who currently lives in London, Ontario. She is of settler descent and her intermedia practice focuses on confronting colonial knowledge systems and conservation regimes with criticality and care. She is an organizing and founding member of the Unsettling Conservation Collective, the Coves Collective, and the (Re)mediating Soils Collective. She recently completed her SSHRC-funded doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. Currently, Michelle is an instructor in the Faculty of Design at OCADU and a postdoctoral scholar working with the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership at the University of Guelph.

Arts Council Wood Buffalo Welcomes Resident Artists from Across Alberta and Canada

Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) welcomes visiting artists Dan Cardinal McCartney and Michelle Wilson through the 2024 Suncor Indigenous Artist and Artist in Residence Programs, respectively. The Resident Artists will spend three weeks immersed in our region, creating work inspired by the environment, culture and people of Wood Buffalo.

 

“We look forward to the knowledge that Dan and Michelle will share with Wood Buffalo through their residencies,” says ACWB Executive Director Liana Wheeldon. 

 

The Artist in Residence Program follows a traditional residency model, in which professional artists spend time creating work inspired by the environment, culture, and people of Wood Buffalo. 

 

The Suncor Indigenous Artist Program endeavours to make the program more equitable and accessible to Indigenous artists. Both streams run concurrently, offering opportunities for collaboration and broader learning. 

 

The Resident Artists will travel to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo from across Alberta and Canada, with Dan coming from Calgary and Michelle from London, Ontario. 

 

Both Dan and Michelle will be spending three weeks in Wood Buffalo, including a week in Fort Chipewyan for each artist. During this time, they will each lead workshops in Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan, engage with the community, and work within art studio spaces located inside Arts Council Wood Buffalo. The three weeks will culminate in a final showcase featuring the works of both artists on May 16th at the Keyano Theatre & Arts Centre. 

 

The Artist in Residence Program and Suncor Indigenous Artist Program foster innovation by exposing our community to new perspectives, artistic ideas and techniques. The programs also bring awareness to our region in the broader provincial and national arts communities. 

 

Arts Council Wood Buffalo looks forward to welcoming Michelle Wilson and Dan Cardinal McCartney from April 30–May 17, 2024. Follow Arts Council Wood Buffalo to get the latest information about opportunities to connect with our 2024 Artists in Residence. 

April 22, 2024

Reduce, Recycle, Re-wear: Clothing Altering Workshop

Arts Council Wood Buffalo invites you to join us at our new office, located at 9908 Manning Avenue, for Reduce, Recycle, Re-wear, a clothing altering workshop.

 

Experienced and aspiring DIY-ers alike are welcome to join as we explore ways of altering and up-cycling clothing. Guest Speaker Rachelle Solbak will share about her experience with clothing alteration and show some of her creations as we gather to share ideas, be inspired, and express ourselves.

 

Join us on Saturday, April 20 from 10:00am-1:00pm at Arts Council Wood Buffalo (9908 Manning Avenue, Fort McMurray)

 

Participants should bring a garment they are interested in altering, up-cycling materials (such as buttons, patches, lace, etc), a sewing machine (if they wish to sew), and an open mind! Sewing experience is not required. Arts Council Wood Buffalo is grateful to partner with What’s in Store to offer each participant a 15% off coupon to thrift their up-cycling treasures.

 

This workshop is free to attend and is open to anyone age 12 and up. Email treasure@artscouncilwb.ca to secure your spot today!

April 15, 2024

Alberta Culture Days 2024: Funding Information Session

Alberta Culture Days is a September-long celebration of arts, heritage, diversity and community-spirit featuring free activities for Albertans to enjoy. It is an opportunity to discover, experience and celebrate the Month of the Artist through local events and activities, in-person and online across the province.

Arts Council Wood Buffalo stewards funds collected from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo among individual artists, groups and organizations who wish to host free arts & culture-based events for residents of Wood Buffalo.

 

Join ACWB staff on Thursday, April 25 to learn more about applying for funds to support your Alberta Culture Days 2024 events. This information session is free to attend and is open to anyone interested in applying for Alberta Culture Days funding through Arts Council Wood Buffalo. Seating is limited, so we ask that you pre-register to secure your spot.

 

Register here!

March 12, 2024

Nominations are OPEN for Buffys 2024: Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards

 Nominations are now open for the 2024 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards

 

The Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards, lovingly nicknamed  the Buffys, is our region’s premier arts event. The Buffys recognizes the artists and arts organizations demonstrating outstanding achievement and contribution to Wood Buffalo, as well as the vital role the arts play in making our community a place to call home. 

 

This year, for the first time ever, the prestigious Arts Champion and Lifetime Achievement Awards will be open for public nomination. In the past, nominations for these awards were brought forward by the Arts Council Wood Buffalo Board of Directors, who then also selected the recipients through internal adjudication.

 

“Opening the Arts Champion and Lifetime Achievement Awards to public nomination will broaden the scope of who is recognized at the Buffys,” says ACWB Programs Manager Jenna Fewer. “We’re excited to hear the stories of artists who we might not otherwise see, but whose work deserves recognition.” 

 

In addition to the fourteen awards that have been presented annually over the past 8 years, Arts Council Wood Buffalo is pleased to announce the addition of the new Youth Arts Leadership Award.  

 

The Youth Arts Leadership Award recognises the outstanding leadership of an artist between the ages of 12 and 17. The artist could be working in any discipline and must demonstrate leadership among their peers. Leadership can be defined as guiding, inspiring, and empowering others; setting a positive example; fostering a supportive environment; advocacy for or through the arts; and facilitating growth and innovation within the artistic community.

 

“By creating the Youth Arts Leadership Award, we want to give the young people in our community more opportunities to be recognised for their remarkable contributions to the creative ecology in Wood Buffalo,” says Jenna Fewer, Programs Manager. 

 

Nominations for the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards can be made through the online submission form. Artists are also encouraged to self-apply to discipline-specific awards through our Buffys online portal

 

 

The Buffys 2024 Award Categories are: 

 

Arts Administration Award
Arts Education Award presented by CEDA
Craft Award
Creative Collaboration
Dance Award
Indigenous Artist Award presented by McMurray Métis
Ken Flaherty Music Award presented by the Flaherty Family
Literary Arts Award
Media Arts Award
Performing Arts Award
Rising Star Award
Visual Arts Award
Arts Champion Award
Lifetime Achievement Award
Youth Arts Leadership Award presented by Muessle Flett Law

 

 

The deadline to nominate an artist or arts organization is June 17, 2024 at noon. Entry materials and self-applications must be submitted by June 28, 2024 at noon. 

 

All award recipients will be announced live at the Buffys 2024: Midnight in Miami Gala on October 19, 2024. This year’s gala will be bigger and more glamorous than ever before, at our new venue, Keyano Theatre and Arts Centre! 

 

For more information about the Buffys, visit artscouncilwb.ca/buffys. Opportunities to support  Buffys 2024 through sponsorship are still available. To become a sponsor, email partner@artscouncilwb.ca today! 

March 4, 2024

Arts Council Wood Buffalo Winter Makers Market

Arts Council Wood Buffalo invites you to shop local this holiday season at our Winter Makers Market!

 

The Winter Makers Market features exclusively Arts Council Wood Buffalo Members as vendors, selling locally created artwork and handcrafted artisan goods. The event takes place Sunday, December 3rd at the beautiful Doug Barnes Cabin from 10:00am-3:00pm. Entry to the Winter Makers Market is by donation, in support of Arts Council Wood Buffalo. People who donate $10 and over will receive an exclusive ACWB tote bag. 

 

Winter Makers Market Needle Felting Workshops

 

As a part of the Winter Makers Market, we are offering two Needle Felting Workshops taught by Meagan Magson of Small Pals. Meagan was the recipient of the Craft Award at the 2023 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards. At the Winter Makers Market, she will teach workshop participants the art of needle felting, leading everyone in the creation of their own unique holiday ornament.

 

 

 

This workshop is suitable for people of all skill levels and is particularly great for families to learn together. Participants ages 10 and over are welcome to attend.

 

 

The Winter Makers Market features something for everyone – from beading and jewelry to fine art, woodworking, and more. We can’t wait to see you on December 3rd!

November 29, 2023

Uncategorized Western Perceptions: Writer’s Conference

‘Western Perceptions’, presented by Fort McKay First Nation, is Wood Buffalo’s first-ever writer’s conference, bringing together best-selling Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors to the community to share literary perspectives with the region. From December 8 – 10, 2022, the FREE three day festival will include workshops taking place throughout several locations in Wood Buffalo including Fort McMurray, Anzac and Fort McKay. The conference will conclude with a panel discussion and keynote address.

FEATURED AUTHORS

BRANDON MITCHELL

Brandon Mitchell is Mi’gmaq from Listuguj First Nations in Quebec and currently resides in the unceded Wolastoqiyik territory of Fredericton, New Brunswick. He carries a Diploma in Animation and Design from the New Brunswick Community College of Miramichi and holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of New Brunswick. He is the founder of Birch Bark Comics and creator of the Sacred Circles comic series, which explored his Mi’kmaq heritage through a contemporary lens. Brandon also sits on the board for the Mawi-Art Collective and sits as the Art Director for the Ni’gweg Collective.

He has authored six stories for Indigenous Story Studio: Lost Innocence, Drawing Hope, River Run, Making it Right, Emily’s Choice and Tomorrow’s Hope. He was approached to by the University of Alabama to script and illustrated Jean-Paul’s Daring Adventure: Stories from Old Mobile. He was also a contributing author of “Migwite’tmeg: We Remember It” for “This Place: 150 years retold” which recounts the events leading up to the infamous salmon raids that took place in Listuguj in the summer of 1981 by Highwater Press.

Brandon is also the creator and author of a new young readers series “Giju’s Gift” published by Highwater Press. In it, a Mi’kmaw girl battles an ancient giant and forms an unexpected friendship with a mythical creature, this is the first volume of an ongoing series of graphic novels inspired by traditional stories.

www.birchbarkcomics.com

DREW HAYDEN TAYLOR

During the last thirty years of his career, Drew Hayden Taylor has done many things, most of which he is proud of.  An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, he has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright, a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on numerous documentaries exploring the Native experience.

Drew has worked on seventeen documentaries, most recently, REDSKINS, TRICKSTERS AND PUPPY STEW and SEARCHING FOR WINNITOU. He has also served as a scriptwriter on many acclaimed series, including North of Sixty and The Beachcombers. His latest novel, Chasing Painted Horses, brings his total number of published works to thirty-three – and he has also just begun hosting Going Native, a TV series which explores a different and unique aspect of Indigenous identity in each episode.

As a playwright, Drew has proudly been a part of what he refers to as the contemporary Native Literary Renascence. An author of more than 20 plays (resulting in almost a hundred productions), his popular plays such as TORONTO AT DREAMER’S ROCK, ONLY DRUNKS AND CHILDREN TELL THE TRUTH, THE BERLIN BLUES, and COTTAGERS AND INDIANS have left their mark on the Canadian theatre scene.  The latter play is currently one of the most remounted shows in recent years.

The years of writing have brought him many accolades by his peers, including the Floyd S. Chalmers Award, Dora Mavor Moore Award  and the Canadian Author’s Literary Award, He has also been the recipient of many other varied honours; an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Mount Allison University, a Plaque of Honour on the Peterborough Walk of Fame, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award, Ontario Premier’s Award for Creative Arts and Design, and Victoria Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in Theatre, to name a few.

Oddly enough, the thing his mother was most proud of was his ability to make spaghetti from scratch.

MICHAEL MANKOWSKI

Michael Mankowski is a Screen Writer and Director. He was born and raised in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo. Owner and operator of Alien Kow formerly known as Wood Buffalo Productions, an Alberta, Canada based award winning production house. Michael is a graduate of University of Lethbridge Bachelor of Management and Vancouver Film School 3D & Animation Program.

Over the years, Michael has achieved many accomplishments including the 2017 Media Arts Buffy award. He has also produced passion projects on the side such as, God’s Acre, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was the winner of the Best Short Film award at the Alberta Film and Television Awards in 2016. Most recently, he created Back Home Again which was the winner of the Best Animated Short Film at the 2021 Edmonton International Film Festival.

Back Home Again was inspired by real testimonials that Michael recorded (while working with the Canadian Red Cross) of individuals who experienced the forest fire, evacuation and the road to recovery. Extensive health research was utilized in the creation of the film, script and content including research from the University of Alberta, CMHA and a number of other studies related to mental health and resilience in disaster/post disaster situations.

DENE PLEWS

Dene Plews is an Indigenous Storyteller from the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation. She writes everything from contemporary romance to YA fantasy, screenplays for short films, songs and poems, but her heart belongs to the short stories she crafts after dark in the comfort of her kitchen. Dene draws her inspiration from the woods around her home. From the sandy trails nestled in the jack pine corridors of Blueberry Hill to the snaking rivers and grand lakes where Slew Sharks lurk. Dene has a passion for folklore specific to her Cree roots and tells tales of ravenous monsters that stalk the forests of the Treaty 8 territory. Story teaches us the value of culture and lessons handed down from generation to generation.

THERESE GREENWOOD

Author Therese Greenwood’s memoir of the Fort McMurray wildfire, What You Take With You: Wildfire, Family and the Road Home, was a Finalist for the 2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards from The Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA). Nominated in the Trade Non-fiction category, What You Take With You: Wildfire, Family and the Road Home was published by the University of Alberta Press. An eyewitness account of the Fort McMurray wildfire and evacuation, the book is also about the physical and emotional artifacts we carry with us in times of crisis.

Therese’s short crime fiction has appeared across Canada and the U.S. and she won the 2019 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for her story “Buck’s Last Ride” in Kill As You Go, her 2018 short story collection. She is a three-time Finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award, Canada’s top mystery writing prize, and has co-edited two short crime fiction anthologies.

Therese has also worked as a reporter and editor and spent a decade as a weekly CBC Radio correspondent. Her feature stories and columns have appeared in publications ranging from the Globe and Mail to Cottage Life, and she has a Master’s degree in journalism.


EVENT OVERVIEW


DAY 1 (December 8, 2022)

December 8, 2022 will each feature a one-day invite-only workshop for high school students and youth in Anzac who are interested comic book and graphic novel creation. Mi’kmaw comic writer Brandon Mitchell will lead the workshop from concept to completion. If you are interested, please contact Programs Coordinator, Hanna Fridhed at hanna@artscouncilwb.ca or (587)-674-1625 ext. 104.


DAY 2 (December 9, 2022)

During the day, Mi’kmaw comic writer Brandon Mitchell will be leading another one-day invite-only workshop for high school students and youth located in Fort McKay. If you are interested, please contact Programs Coordinator, Hanna Fridhed at hanna@artscouncilwb.ca or (587)-674-1625 ext. 104.

The evening of December 9 will feature a public documentary screening of ‘Searching for Winnetou‘ directed by Drew Hayden Taylor. Searching for Winnetou explores the controversy surrounding cultural appropriation of Indigenous culture in an innovative, hilarious, unnerving, yet inspiring way. For years Drew Hayden Taylor, prolific playwright and author of dozens of Canadian-Indigenous books, has noticed a high proportion of German tourists visiting Canada, many who have come looking for a real “Indianer” experience (what Germans call the North American Native lifestyle). Inevitably, almost every one of these Germans will relate stories of Winnetou: Germany’s most famous, but mythical, Apache warrior. The film is a fascinating exploration of “cultural appreciation vs appropriation” from the perspective of one of Canada’s most beloved Native writers.

Register to attend this screening via Eventbrite. (Click image to register)


DAY 3 (December 10, 2022)

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM GRAPHIC NOVEL CREATION WORKSHOP This workshop is open to ALL residents in the Wood Buffalo region who would like to explore, learn and work with graphic novel design. Mi’kmaw Comic Writer, Brandon Mitchell, will lead the workshop from concept to completion. All materials will be provided. (Click image to register)

3:00 PM – 8:00 PM PANEL DISCUSSION, Q&A & KEYNOTE ADDRESS This first-ever Writer’s Conference will be starting with a panel discussion and Q&A Session followed by a catered gathering by Meals and Things and a Keynote Address given by Drew Hayden Taylor. Planned by festival co-directors Frederick McDonald and Therese Greenwood, this event is open to ALL writers, readers and literary enthusiasts.

This unique event will look at the idea of the ‘Western Hero’ and ‘Indian’ stereotype in popular media and how artists, whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous, deal with these subjects. Each artist will have an opportunity to discuss and share their perspective on either of the subjects or both.

Attendees must register on Eventbrite for the conference as space is limited. (Click image to register) 


The three-day event is made possible by presenting sponsor, Fort McKay First Nation. Arts Council Wood Buffalo would also like to thank our additional sponsors: Suncor, Syncrude, Teck, APE Maintenance and Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries. 

A special thanks to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Canada Council for the Arts for their continuance in their support of the arts.


Western Perspectives Co-Directors

The festival is jointly organized by an Indigenous and a non-Indigenous artistic director:

  • Frederick McDonaldCo-Artistic Director Fred McDonald is a member of the Fort McKay First Nation and is presently a full-time artist in the Wood Buffalo Region of Alberta. Despite his many travels, work experience and exhibitions, Fred’s heart is still with the community where he was born and he continues to be an active member of the Fort McKay band. Always a leader, Fred has also been the Chief Executive Officer of the Fort McKay Group of Companies and was resident of the Northern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association. Whether presenting art workshops for students of all levels or running a multi-million-dollar company, Fred keeps himself grounded through his family ties and his children are his inspiration for everything he does.
  • Therese GreenwoodCo-Artistic Director Therese Greenwood’s short fiction has appeared across Canada and the U.S. She won the 2019 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America and is a three-time finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award, Canada’s top mystery writing prize. She has worked as a reporter, editor, and broadcaster, and has appeared in publications ranging from the Globe And Mail to Queen’s Quarterly to Cottage Life. Her memoir of the Fort McMurray wildfire, What You Take With You: Wildfire, Family and the Road Home, was published last year by the University of Alberta Press. Her website is www.therese.ca.

November 3, 2022

Arts INC – Project Background

Project Background

 

Arts Council Wood Buffalo is in the process of creating an arts incubator space in downtown Fort McMurray. Arts INC will be designed to support and nurture a diverse range of arts and culture for residents across the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo region.

This multi-year project began in 2018 with the Arts Recovery Project, funded by the Canadian Red Cross following the 2016 wildfire. Engagement with artists and community-at-large demonstrated the need for an affordable space for artists to work and create. Review the Post Fire Recovery in the Arts Strategic Plan to learn more about the history and process that planted the seed for Arts Inc.

In early 2020, ACWB received funding from Community Foundations of Canada via the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) to conduct a feasibility study to determine if and how the former Landmark cinema building could be repurposed for an arts incubator, identify opportunities and challenges, and begin the process of envisioning and designing the project. Arts Council worked with Akron Engineering on this feasibility study, and engaged with artists, residents, stakeholders, and businesses to get feedback on the project to evaluate the benefits for everyone in our region.

The study was completed in early 2021.

Feasibility Study Findings: Former Landmark Cinema Building

After engaging with the public in Fall 2020 and completing a feasibility study with Akron Engineering in March 2021, the findings are now available. Review the Arts Incubator Feasibility Study.

“To conclude, based on Akron’s comprehensive research, which is summarized in the Feasibility Study Report, we confirm that the former downtown Landmark Cinema Building is an excellent choice to be repurposed to an arts incubator for Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.  When completed, this great initiative will be a value-added asset for the community and the fruition of Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s Strategic Priorities.” (Arts Incubator Feasibility Study, pg. XI)

“The Cinema Building can be efficiently remodeled to fit the needs of ACWB to house an arts incubator space that can be used as a centre for artists to gather and work, a venue for performances, workshops and galleries, a community gathering space and to host special events.” (Arts Incubator Feasibility Study, pg. 113)

Public Engagement Findings

“Based on the many positive responses to the engagement survey, it is evident that many of our community residents appreciate the need for an arts incubator space and want to participate in it. Having this project come to fruition will be a red-letter day, as there will be a time when forces come together to create something not only creatively impressive, but economically vibrant and self-sustaining.” (Arts Incubator Feasibility Study, pg. 113)

Highlights – Survey Response Statistics:

  • Public engagement survey ran from Sept. 16 – Oct. 6
  • 410 individuals responded to the survey
  • 83.9% agree that an arts incubator would be beneficial for the Wood Buffalo region
  • 67.5% were not satisfied with the types of arts facilities currently available in the Wood Buffalo region
  • 58% were not satisfied with the arts, cultural and entertainment opportunities in the region
  • 45.9% did not self-identify as an artist
  • 43.4% self-identified as an artist

Review more Engagement Survey Findings here.

Community Benefits

“It has been proven in other communities in Canada, and around the globe, that art spaces create huge benefits to the residents economically, socially, and ensure sustainable growth. Our October 2020 engagement survey revealed the excitement of the community to have an arts incubator space developed in the region.

Communities that have embraced art incubators…are driving new business, spurring innovation, attracting talent and investment and, in the process, accelerating community development and improving the overall quality of life for their residents.” (Arts Incubator Feasibility Study, pg. 113)

In addition, Arts INC is in line with a number of goals and objectives as identified by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo:

Fundraising

The first milestone to purchase the future Arts INC property on Manning Avenue in downtown Fort McMurray has been accomplished. Now, formal design and planning will be done to repurpose the property into Arts INC as envisioned by our community.

Based on the Feasibility Study, the current cost estimate for this project is $14.7M to purchase and repurpose the property and get it into operation.  

Learn More About This ProjectFAQs

Q – What’s an arts incubator?

– An arts incubator is a purpose-built space that can be used as a centre for artists to gather and work, a venue for performances, workshops and galleries, a community gathering space, and even host events and festivals. Examples include cSPACE King Edward in Calgary or Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in Nova Scotia.

Q – Where will Arts INC be located?

– The future Arts INC property is located in downtown Fort McMurray on Manning Avenue. The goal is to remodel the building into an arts incubator space that can support arts, culture, business, and the community at large.

Q – Why did you choose that location?

– The former cinema building is no longer in use and has now been purchased by ACWB. The property presents many options and opportunities that are closely linked to the arts incubator concept, including a theatre, movie and rehearsal space, large rooms, and outdoor space for parking, markets, and events.

In addition, the building is located in the downtown area, which has been identified by local government as an area for redevelopment. Findings from public engagement by the Municipality has shown that this area is ideal for arts and cultural space as well as economic development. Arts INC will be a catalyst for downtown revitalization.

Q – What is a feasibility study?

A – A feasibility study will help determine if and how the former cinema building could be repurposed for an arts incubator, identify opportunities and challenges, and begin the process of envisioning and designing the project.

Q – Where did you get funding for the feasibility study? 

A – In early 2020, ACWB received funding from Community Foundations of Canada via the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) to conduct a feasibility study to determine if and how the cinema building could be repurposed for an arts incubator, identify opportunities and challenges, and begin the process of envisioning and designing the project. Arts Council worked with Akron Engineering on this feasibility study, and engaged with artists, residents, stakeholders, and businesses to get feedback on the project to evaluate the benefits for everyone in our region.

Q – Where do you plan to get money to pay for Arts INC?

A – Part of the feasibility study is determining the cost of this project. From there, Arts Council developed a Fund Development Plan.

Additionally, there are a number of grants available provincially, federally, and through private corporations that support the development of arts infrastructure.  Examples of potential funders could be Canadian Heritage and Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Q – Will any you be using municipal tax dollars to fund Arts INC?

A – Arts Council is honoured to have the support of our municipal government for this project. On June 29, 2022, Mayor and Council unanimously voted to grant $5 million to fund Arts INC.

Arts Council is always open to discuss opportunities and synergies with individuals and organizations that could benefit everyone in the region.

Q – I live in a rural community. How will Arts INC benefit me?

A – Arts INC is located in Fort McMurray, but we welcome participation from all communities and groups from across the region.

Once established, Arts INC will use a “spoke and hub model” to provide services to rural and Indigenous communities.  The Artist in Residence program, for example, could be inclusive of the rural areas – artists would spend time mentoring residents in rural communities, but the artists would create their work at Arts INC in Fort McMurray.

Q – How can I help make this project a reality?

A – Anyone wishing to donate to this project may do so through our website – donations $50 and over are eligible for a Charitable Donation Receipt and donors can specify which program, project, or service they wish their donation dollars to support, including Arts INC.

Q – How much will Arts INC cost to build?

A – Based on the Feasibility Study, the current cost estimate for this project is $14.7M to purchase and repurpose the property and get it into operations.

Q – How much does the property cost?

A – A fair market assessment determined the value of the property and was completed by an independent third-party assessor.

Q – How much will Arts INC cost to operate?

A – It is difficult to know what the operation costs will be before a detailed design of Arts INC has been finalized. We are working with Project Management professionals and consultants to better understand costs in greater detail.

Arts Council has also created a 7-Year projected operating plan and budget to ensure success of the project.

Q – Will Arts INC earn revenue?

A – Yes. One of Arts Council’s financial goals for this project is that Arts INC be self-sustaining within 4-5 years of opening its doors to the community. This means that Arts INC would eventually operate based on revenues earned from serving the community, as well as from sponsorships and donors.

Q – What will happen with the profits/revenue earned by Arts INC?

A – Arts INC is based on a business model known as a ‘social enterprise.’ Social enterprises are revenue-generating businesses with a twist. A social enterprise is a revenue-generating business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to deliver profit to shareholders and owners. (Definition provided by BC Centre for Social Enterprise.)

November 19, 2020

Giving to the Arts this holiday season: November 29

This holiday, 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 arts and the well-being of residents across the region.

You can support yourself and others through the arts by becoming an ACWB member, sponsor, donor, or volunteer. See below for the six ways you can become an Arts Champion.

Enter to WIN $5,000 for ACWB: Nov. 15 – 29

Enter the GivingTuesday contest to win $5,000 from CanadaHelps. Every donation made until November 29 is an automatic entry to WIN a $5,000 CanadaHelps charity gift card that can be used to further support Arts Council Wood Buffalo or other charities and causes you care about.

What is Giving Tuesday?

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement, taking place each year after Black Friday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it’s a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for favourite causes. In the same way that retailers take part in Black Friday, the giving community comes together for GivingTuesday.

Artwork by Liam Legault

Six Ways to Support ACWB

1) Donate to ACWBWe are a registered charity and you will recieve a tax receipt for donations of $50 and above. Plus, that donation will go towards our Membership Bank. See more about the Membership Bank below.

2) Sponsor programs or Awards. You can sponsor an award for the Buffys, ACWB’s annual Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards, held in the Fall each year. Alternatively, you 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 luay@artscouncilwb.ca or (587) 674-1625 ext. 102. To sponsor an award or program, visit our Support Us page to see opportunities.

3) Buy or gift a membership. Buy a membership for yourself or your organization or gift it to an artist that you know! There are a number of benefits to being a member, including discounts, news and opportunities, consultation services, promotion for your arts practice, access to Marketplace, and much more . In addition, you will be adding to the voice for the arts in Wood Buffalo. Larger numbers means a louder voice when Arts Council advocates for the arts community to all levels of government.

4) Renew your membership. There are plenty of benefits to your membership, including monthly newsletters with the inside scoop on opportunities, grants, and artist calls. In 2020, we introduced Marketplace as a free member benefit, so you can have your own online shop on Arts Council’s website. Don’t forget the Artist Directory, where you can upload your artistic profile for the community to see when they are looking to hire local talent.

5) Apply to the Membership Bank. Do you want to become a member, but can’t afford membership fees? Send an email to our Communications Coordinator, Sahar Saifee (sahar@artscouncilwb.ca) or call 587-674-1625 x.104 to access the bank of free 1-year memberships. She will get in touch with you so you can register (for free), and we can get your contact information to activate your membership.

The Membership Bank is a “bank” of free ACWB memberships to help ensure everyone can be an ACWB member. Financial donations made to ACWB from November 23 until December 23 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.

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.

Not an Artist?

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.

Thank You for Supporting the Arts

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?

Contact Akshaya Lakshmi, our Communications Coordinator at sahar@artscouncilwb.ca or 587-674-1625 ext.104.

November 4, 2020