Fourth Annual Excellence in Arts Awards Celebrated Beatnik Style
Amid a sea of berets, and a throwback to the fifties – Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s (ACWB) fourth annual Excellence in Arts Awards, also called the Buffys – were held on October 19, 2019 at the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts. The theme this year was Midnight Coffeehouse, which paid tribute to the Beat Generation.
Local artists performed written, dance, and spoken word pieces, and delighted a full house. Val Gondek, music teacher at Thickwood Heights Public School, with a 32-year career in music received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Well-known local community leader, Rick Kirchner received the Arts Champion Award for his incessant support of multiple artistic endeavours like starting the Bridge 91.1 radio station, snapd Wood Buffalo newspaper, and most recently collaborating on District Recording Studio in partnership with the Fort McMurray Public School Division. The studio is located at Composite High School.
Mayor Don Scott congratulated all the winners, and the ACWB team for organizing the event, and fostering the arts.
“Thanks to the leaders gathered at this event, our arts and cultural scene is thriving. As Councillor Krista Balsom said to me just now ‘arts make Fort McMurray home,’ thank you for all you do.”
Congratulations to all the winners listed below:
Arts Administration: Sheri Donovan
Arts Education: Kelli Stewart
Craft: Ashley Laurenson
Creative Collaboration: Simma Downe
Indigenous Arts: Bernadette Dumais
Dance: Nikita Proulx
Literary Art: Theresa Wells
Media Arts: Steve Reeve
Ken Flaherty Music Award: Chris Pottie
Theatre: Zachary Barrett
Rising Star: Natalie Farahani
Visual Arts: Ruth Perry
Lifetime Achievement: Valerie Gondek
Arts Champion: Rick Kirschner