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News (Edmonton): 2015 Mayors Celebration for the Arts Award Recipients Announced

Brave Girl – Lunchbox Theatre
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News (Edmonton): 2015 Mayors Celebration for the Arts Award Recipients Announced

PACE_logoThe 28th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts

2015 Award Recipients

(April 21, 2015 – Edmonton) – Mayor Don Iveson and the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton (PACE) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 28th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts.

Mayor’s Award for Innovative Support by a Business for the Arts

Recognizing a local business that has invested in an arts organization, event, project or individual artist in the greater Edmonton area in a creative and original manner.

Happy Harbor Comics, nominated by Jeff Martin

Happy Harbor is Edmonton’s only international award-winning store with a focus on promoting creativity to kids of all ages through comics.

Mayor’s Award for Sustained Support of the Arts

Recognizing a business or an individual that has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to investing in Edmonton’s arts and culture industry through a specific arts organization, event, individual artist, or widespread investment in the arts.

Audreys Books, nominated by LitFest and the Alberta Book Fair Society

Audreys Books, Edmonton’s independent bookstore since 1975, enthusiastically supports local authors and hosts a multitude of author events. Audreys is the inaugural and continuing sponsor of the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, now in its 20th year, and provides support for Edmonton LitFest and the Edmonton Poetry Festival, while helping to develop the readers and writers of the future.

John Poole Award for Promotion of the Arts

This award recognizes an individual, arts organization, media organization or business that has promoted the arts in a distinctly creative or exceptional manner.

Alexis Marie Chute, nominated by Wes Lafortune

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning artist, writer and advocate. PhotoLife Magazine named her an “Emerging Canadian Photographer” and she curates InFocus Exhibit during Exposure Photography Festival. She was Artist-in-Residence at Harcourt House Artist Run Centre. Her work is represented at Method Art and the Art Gallery of Alberta.

ATB Financial Ambassador of the Arts Award

Recognizing a mid-career individual or organization successful on a national or international level, that enlightens audiences and promotes Edmonton’s rich cultural, performance or visual arts scene in an extraordinary way.

Rapid Fire Theatre, nominated by the Rapid Fire Theatre Board of Directors

Edmonton’s busiest and favourite (Vue Weekly readers, Edmonton Journal polls) theatre company produces more than 220 shows, four festivals, 100 community visits and 14 international trips per year. In this, its 25th year of Theatresports, RFT is recognized as a mecca for new improv performers and a symbol for quality around the world.

ATCO Gas Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement

Recognizing an individual who, over a minimum of 25 years, has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Edmonton.

The Honourable Tommy Banks

Since his 1950 professional debut, Tommy Banks has, as the Toronto Star pointed out, “…..done everything a musician could wish for.” MacLean’s Magazine observed that “it would be easier to list the things he doesn’t do.” He is the recipient of the Juno Award, the Gemini Award, the Grand Prix du Disques-Canada, several ARIA Awards, and is a member of the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame. He has conducted symphony orchestras throughout North America and in Europe. His recordings are on Century II Records, distributed by Royalty Records. He is a member of the A. F. of M., ACTRA, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (U.S.), the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

CN Youth Artist Award

Recognizing the importance of art and design to a youth’s education, and encouraging the development and education of young artists.

Kieran MacDonald, nominated by Victoria School of the Arts

Kieran is 17 and is a Grade 12 student at Victoria School of the Arts. He is training to become a professional dancer. Kieran has had the opportunity to train at Joffrey School of Ballet in New York and recently worked with world renowned choreographers in Los Angeles.

DIALOG Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction

Recognizing the outstanding achievement of an artistic leader in a specific arts discipline, actively leading and working in the greater Edmonton arts and culture sector.

Amy Shostak, nominated by Christopher Samuel

Rapid Fire Theatre has grown dramatically under Amy’s guidance, doubling its weekly programming and public workshop offerings while settling into its new home at the Citadel Theatre. The dynamic, collaborative atmosphere around the company has fostered two new innovative, annual festivals, and some of the city’s most exciting live performances.

Mile Zero Dance Progressive Artist Award

Recognizing the achievements of Edmonton-based artists who actively work in the arts and engage with the community in challenging and exciting ways.

Paul Freeman, nominated by the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts

Independent visual artist Paul Freeman is one of the founders and the Artistic Director at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, an art centre for artists with developmental disabilities in Edmonton. For the last fifteen years Freeman has taught or facilitated art making with special populations including: youth at risk, people with mental illness or addiction issues, people living in poverty with a focus on developing creative opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. Freeman’s interdisciplinary practice includes drawing, sculpture and photography/ digital image creation, and the creation of short animated films.

Northlands Award for an Emerging Artist

Recognizing Edmonton’s valued, upcoming professionals – artists who, in the early stages of their careers, demonstrate exceptional talent and accomplishments, as well as a unique artistic expression and commitment to the arts in the Edmonton region.

Ahmed Knowmadic, nominated by Muna Saleh

Ahmed ‘Knowmadic’ Ali is a Somali-born Canadian. He is a full-time poet, writer, actor, comedian, speaker and youth worker. Ahmed is a Canadian Champion in spoken word and has his poetry published and taught in schools. He is one of the organizers and founders of the Breath in Poetry Collective.

Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize

Recognizing written work which deals with some aspect of the city of Edmonton: history, geography, current affairs, its arts or its people or is written by an Edmonton author.

Rudy Wiebe, Come Back, Penguin Random House Canada

Rudy Wiebe’s novels, stories and non-fiction stand at the forefront of Canadian literature. He is widely published internationally and has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction twice, for The Temptations of Big Bear and A Discovery of Strangers. Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman, which Wiebe co-authored with Yvonne Johnson, was awarded the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, among numerous others. His memoir, Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest, won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and was a national bestseller. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and lives in Edmonton with his wife, Tena.

Syncrude Award for Excellence in Arts Management

Recognizing individuals or organizations who have demonstrated innovation, leadership and vision in the management of a professional arts organization.

Karen Brown-Fournell, nominated by Christine DeWitt

Karen has been den mother to Rapid Fire Theatre’s volatile and unpredictable improvisors for the past 15 years, during which time she has helped elevate the company to a financially stable, forward-thinking operation within reach of its dream for a home of its own.

TELUS Courage to Innovate Award

Recognizing an individual or organization that has displayed the courage to take artistic risks and embrace innovation in artistic expression, resulting in a unique and distinctive project.

Amber Borotsik, nominated by Ben Sures

Amber Borotsik is an Edmonton-based contemporary dance and theatre artist. She mixes things up, working as an actor, dancer, choreographer, educator and creator (Scythe, Here. Like this.). In 2005 she founded the Expanse Festival with Azimuth Theatre Artistic Producer Murray Utas. Amber has received three Sterling Awards and has performed across Canada, the United States and in Japan with companies such as Theatre Network, Ghost River Theatre, Mile Zero Dance, and Northern Light Theatre among others.

Congratulations to the 2015 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts award recipients. Special thanks to our generous sponsors for their incredible support. For an overview of the event, photos and more information on the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts and the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton, please visit A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event go toward supporting the 2015 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Charitable Partner, Theatre Network.

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