Starting Oct. 1, Zach Polis will assume the role of arts ambassador and promote the value of arts and artists in the province through an art project and community engagement.
Polis is a screenwriter and playwright and was St. Albert’s first poet laureate from 2018 to 2020. A graduate of the University of Alberta, England’s National Film and Television School, and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, his poems have appeared in Vogue Italia’s PhotoVogue as well as in public art displays and Edmonton transit.
Polis’s residence project Light Plucked from the Universe will have two parts: a collection of his spoken word poetry presented throughout the residency and a filmed curation of Alberta-based poets and writers performing their work.
Communities can invite the Artist in Residence to present at local events and meetings through the Artist in Residence web page on alberta.ca. All hosts must adhere to current public health protocols in their event plans.
Over the summer, artists who live in Alberta submitted applications and project proposals for the position. Minister Orr selected Polis from a short list of five, which included:
- Aeris Osborne, visual artist, Edmonton
- Claudia Jimenez-Chagoya, visual artist, Calgary
- Jacqueline Huskisson, visual artist, Calgary
- Lanre Ajayi, filmmaker and visual artist, Calgary
The Artist in Residence receives a grant of up to $50,000, which includes $25,000 for artist compensation and up to $25,000 for project expenses. The term ends on Sept. 30 each year, the last day of Alberta’s annual Month of the Artist that recognizes the significant cultural and economic contribution that artists make to the province. Our province’s cultural organizations have an important role in Alberta’s Recovery Plan and are significant to our long-term prosperity and diversification.
In celebration of Month of the Artist, outgoing Artist in Residence Joal Kamps debuted his project Wild Rose at the Polaris Centre for the Performing Arts on Sept. 11. Albertans can watch the full concert online.