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Colourful graphic for the Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek.

Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek

Thank you to everyone who joined Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Calgary’s arts and business leaders at the 2023 Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

More than 800 people were in attendance for an evening featuring Poet Laureate Wakefield Brewster as emcee and more than 200 local performers as part of an exciting lineup that included Reuben & the Dark with the Bullhorn Singers, Madhuban Performing Arts, Klave Latin Band and a collective of Calgary choirs. Mayor Gondek had the audience on their feet when she joined the Heebee-jeebees band in a surprise performance, belting out Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

2023 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards recipients (clockwise from top left): Sahar Hakimi, Kadra Yusuf, Kristy North Peigan, Francis A. Willey, Tara Vahab, Karen Begg (EAR) and Cassie Suche.

The evening also recognized outstanding achievement in the arts with the presentation of the 2023 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards.

This year, 65 outstanding artists and organizations were nominated for the awards, representing just some of the artistry that vitalizes our city every day. In 2022, Calgary Arts Development invested $13.6 million through 676 grants to individual artists and arts organizations, which resulted in over 26,000 arts experiences with a participation rate of 4.4 million. The Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards are one way of recognizing artistic accomplishment and community impact.

We thank all the nominees and congratulate this year’s recipients:

ATB Powering Possibility Through the Arts Award

2023 recipient: Elephant Artist Relief Society
Elephant Artist Relief Society (EAR) develops and presents programming that supports artists of all disciplines to help sustain their well-being and livelihood, and powers possibility for the Calgary artistic community.

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award

2023 recipient: Sahar Hakimi
Sahar Hakimi is a visual artist whose work focuses on the human rights of minority groups, and mental health and cognitive barriers, while providing meaningful experience and services for people with disabilities, children and newcomers.

The Legacy of Doug and Lous Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award

2023 recipient: Francis A. Willey
Francis A. Willey is a multi-disciplinary artist and a pillar of the arts community in Calgary. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Francis has worked as a fine art photographer, poet, musician, visual artist, art curator, and a mentor to emerging artists in Calgary.

Mamdani Arts Leadership

2023 recipient: Fatemeh Tara Vahab
Fatemeh Tara Vahab is board chair at LOUD Art Society. Tara’s leadership skills include steering LAS to attain CRA charity status, developing operational strategies, engaging volunteers, mentoring youth and advocating art therapy.

RBC Emerging Artist Award

2023 recipient: Cassandra Suche
Cassandra Suche is an exceptional talent who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to Calgary through her experimental art practice and outstanding contributions to the city’s arts community.

Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Manager Award

2023 recipient: Kadra Yusuf
Kadra Yusuf, artistic director at EMMEDIA, has made measurable impact on diversity and inclusion, created innovative programs, and fostered productive collaborations, positioning herself and the organization for future success. Her dedication to serving the arts sector and contributions to the Calgary arts community make her extremely deserving of this award.

Indigenous Artist Award

2023 recipient: Kristy North Peigan
Kristy North Peigan is a member of the Piikani First Nation and a freelance artist and designer in Calgary. She is a graduate of the Alberta University of the Arts, and uses Indigenous teachings and subject matter to portray a modern view of Indigenous voices. This award is sponsored by TD Bank Group.

https://youtu.be/a7cgsMquU5A

Partners

[logo_gallery id=100726]

Event History

The Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek continues the annual tradition of bringing the business and arts sectors together to celebrate Calgary artists and arts organizations and recognize outstanding achievement. This event, held in collaboration with Mayor Jyoti Gondek, replaces the previous Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, a collaboration between Calgary Arts Development and former Mayor Naheed Nenshi. It evolved from a longstanding event established by the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance (CPAA) in 1993 to bring Calgary’s business and art sectors together in recognition of the important relationships that foster artistic achievement in Calgary. The Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts, and later the Mayor’s Evening for Business and the Arts, enjoyed support from each civic administration since their inception. From 1993 to 2010, the CPAA and the Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts recognized over 30 outstanding arts and business partnership and over 20 emerging, established and innovative Calgary artists.

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An image of nine people on a stage holding awards
2022 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards Recipients | Photo: Aaron Chatha

Thank you to everyone who joined Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Calgary’s arts and business leaders at the 2022 Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek on Friday, November 4, 2022 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

More than 700 people were in attendance for an evening featuring emcee Tim Tamashiro, the Sheldon Zandboer Trio, musician Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Poet Laureate Wakefield Brewster, Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Sankofa Arts and Music Foundation, a massive choir composed of both youth and adult groups, and more.

The evening also recognized outstanding achievement in the arts with the presentation of the 2022 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards. Mayor Jyoti Gondek congratulated the winners and spoke about the importance of arts and culture to the community for health and wellness, education, and a strong economy. "The arts matter. You matter," she told the audience of artists, arts administrators and business leaders. "Let's continue to advocate together because our future depends on it."

This year, 51 outstanding artists and organizations were nominated, representing just some of the artistry that vitalizes our city every day. Recipients are selected by a jury of peers. Each Legacy Award winner received a $5,000 cash prize, which is funded by a contribution from a local philanthropist or organization with equal matching money from Calgary Arts Development.

We thank all the nominees and congratulate this year’s recipients:

2022 ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award recipient: Janey Luc-German
Janey Luc-German has volunteered her services in the past 15 years in promoting arts to various Calgary schools and communities, including running seven 5-session online workshops helping seniors combat loneliness through arts during the pandemic.

2022 CCIS New Canadian Artist Award recipient: Claudia Chagoya
Claudia Chagoya is a gifted Mexican interdisciplinary artist, a talented educator, and a skilled community connector whose abilities, activities, and heart will continue to be a benefit to Calgary.

2022 Mamdani Arts Leadership Award recipient: Stephanie Hutchinson
Stephanie Hutchinson works tirelessly to raise the profile of and give opportunities to Calgary musicians both at home and across Canada through her volunteer work with the YYC Music Awards.

2022 RBC Emerging Artist Award recipient: Sarah Uwadiae
Sarah Uwadiae is an early career Nigerian artist based in Calgary. Her practice includes set and costume design, filmmaking and story creation through multiple mediums and disciplines. Despite her background in theatre, her curiosity and drive to make art has inspired her to step out of the label of “designer” and embrace her whole self as a multidisciplinary artist.

2022 Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Manager Award recipient: Daniel Cardinal McCartney
Daniel Cardinal McCartney is being recognized for his outstanding work towards equitable working conditions for artists and arts administrators.

2022 SANDSTONE City Builder Award recipient: Casa Mexico Foundation
For 13 years, Casa Mexico has been constantly supporting the work of emerging and professional artists in the Calgary community, and as a result they have been able to foster the growth of multitudes of artistic careers in our city.

2022 Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award recipient: Sandra Sawatzky
Artist Sandra Sawatzky developed a film language of choreographed action to tell stories and embroiders epics with a small needle and miles of thread.

2022 TD Bank Group Indigenous Artist Award recipient: Danielle Piper
Danielle Piper is an interdisciplinary visual artist located in Mohkinsstsis, Treaty 7 territory. Danielle creates many kinds of visual art; and also teaches beading workshops, livestreams on twitch and sells her handmade crafts. As part of this award she worked for a three-month term as Indigenous Artist in Residence for the Calgary Public Library in early 2022.

For more information, read the event program here and the media release here.


Speakers, performers and award winners from the 2022 Celebration for the Arts

Clockwise from top left: 2022 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards recipients with Mayor Jyoti Gondek; Calgary Arts Development President and CEO Patti Pon and ASL interpreter Janice Manchul; members of the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble; emcee Tim Tamashiro with Chantal Gagnon leading a community drum circle; super choir with members from Revv 52, the Young Canadians, Kantorei Choral Society and Our Lady of the Rockies High School; and Poet Laureate Wakefield Brewster.

Photos by Motif Photography.


Video presentation of the 2022 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards
https://youtu.be/7Lw_IMdlUgc

You can learn more about the Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards at calgaryartsdevelopment.com.


Partners

Thank you to all of our sponsors of the 2023 Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek.


About the Celebration for the Arts

The Celebration for the Arts is a collaboration between Calgary Arts Development and Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

In consultation with business and cultural industry advisors, this event was developed as a new way of expanding the circle of Arts Champions in Calgary and building on the long history of bringing together the business and arts sectors.

The event celebrates the arts and how artists tell our stories, connect us and make meaning in our lives.

An illustration promoting the Celebration for the Arts

About Calgary Arts Development

As the city’s designated arts development authority, Calgary Arts Development supports and strengthens the arts to benefit all Calgarians. We invest and allocate municipal funding for the arts provided by The City of Calgary and leverage these funds to provide additional resources to the arts sector. Our programs support hundreds of arts organizations, individual artists, artist collectives and ad hoc groups in Calgary.

Event History

The Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek continues the annual tradition of bringing the business and arts sectors together to celebrate Calgary artists and arts organizations and recognize outstanding achievement. This event, held in collaboration with Mayor Jyoti Gondek, replaces the previous Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, a collaboration between Calgary Arts Development and former Mayor Naheed Nenshi. It evolved from a longstanding event established by the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance (CPAA) in 1993 to bring Calgary’s business and art sectors together in recognition of the important relationships that foster artistic achievement in Calgary. The Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts, and later the Mayor’s Evening for Business and the Arts, enjoyed support from each civic administration since their inception. From 1993 to 2010, the CPAA and the Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts recognized over 30 outstanding arts and business partnership and over 20 emerging, established and innovative Calgary artists.

2021 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

2020 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

2019 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

2018 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

2017 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

2016 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

2015 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

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Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions logo

The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, organized by Calgary Arts Development and the Office of the Mayor, took place online on June 9, 2021, with more than 300 guests registered for the event.

The live-stream included a welcome song by Elders Raymond and Greta Many Bears, commentary by Calgary Arts Development President & CEO Patti Pon, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, and host Dave Kelly, as well as a few video presentations representing a small sampling of how adaptable the arts sector has been during COVID-19.

Missed it or want to re-live the celebration? You can view the whole thing on-demand on youtube.ca.

https://youtu.be/THbfwkPnu4E
Eight outstanding Calgary artists honoured with $5,000 cash prize

A highlight of this annual event is always the announcement of the Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards.

“Our congratulations go to all of the nominees and the award recipients,” says Pon. “We thank our champion sponsor Calgary Foundation and all of the other sponsors of the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, as well as the benefactors of the Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards. This year’s award recipients truly represented the rich and vibrant arts scene we have in our city.”

Recipients of the 2021 Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards were also announced by video featuring interviews with award-winners and sponsors. Each Legacy Award winner receives a $5,000 cash prize funded by a contribution from a local philanthropist or organization with equal matching money from a legacy fund of Calgary 2012. Recipients are selected by a jury of peers.

This year, 61 outstanding artists and organizations were nominated, representing some of the artistry that vitalizes our city every day. We thank all the nominees and congratulate this year’s recipients listed below:

The ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award was established to recognize artists whose artistic practices encompass health and wellness to improve the wellbeing of individuals, groups or communities. The award is intended to promote the healing nature of the arts and its critical role as a means of expression for those facing physical or mental health issues.

Recipient: Heather Morigeau
Heather Morigeau demonstrates how arts can empower multiple forms of healing; be it cultural healing, addiction recovery or living with mental health challenges.

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award recognizes that artists from all parts of the world enrich Calgary’s arts sector. The award provides new Canadian artists with access to the institutions and support networks available to most Calgary artists.

Recipient: Perpetual Atife
Nigeria-born, saxophonist, songwriter, arts manager, culture enthusiast, and aspiring producer; Perpie is constantly carving expressive means to wave pieces of her life’s experiences and dreams, into an open box of treasure—music.

The Mamdani Arts Leadership Award recognizes and rewards the integral role of board members who lend their expertise, talent, and time to support the work of arts organizations and festivals that make Calgary a vibrant and creative city.

Recipient: Arif Ansari
Arif Ansari is the president of the Sled Island Board of Directors. His leadership and dedication have been key to moving the organization forward in recent years and are a testament to his passion for the local arts community. 

The RBC Emerging Artist Award was established to recognize up-and-coming, Calgary-based artists. The award recognizes that a thriving cultural community includes artists who choose to live and build their careers in Calgary from the onset.

Recipient: Tank Standing Buffalo
Through talent and hard work, this unconventional and marginalized artist has risen from difficult circumstances, creating opportunities to grow, create work, and succeed. Through his work and dedication, Tank Standing Buffalo has grown into one of Calgary’s most up-and-coming filmmakers.

The Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Administrator Award recognizes and encourages the role of professional arts managers and administrators who are dedicating their careers to promoting and supporting the work of Calgary’s artists and not-for-profit arts organizations.

Recipient: Bianca Miranda
Bianca Miranda is a passionate and skilled emerging arts administrator. Her dedication to social justice and the arts is vital to the betterment of our community.

The SANDSTONE City Builder Award recognizes artists and organizations that make Calgary a better place to live. These individuals are committed to enriching Calgary through and artistic practice or arts program driven by a social impact outcome.

Recipient: Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Loft 112
From its start in 2013 Loft 112, as the brainchild of Lisa Murphy-Lamb, is the vanguard for writers, artists, neighbours to gather, exhibit, present, and create. Loft 112 is a creative hive where ideas are given space to develop, a place where unheard voices are given a platform and a place of collaboration.

The TD Indigenous Artist Award was established in 2020 by TD Bank Group in partnership with the Calgary Public Library’s residency program and aims to recognize the contribution of Indigenous artists, craftspeople, and Knowledge Keepers to Calgary. The award seeks to honour Indigenous cultures and to promote intercultural understanding, perspective-taking, and communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Recipient: Alberta Rose Williams
Often utilizing found or repurposed materials, Alberta Rose seeks to create work that speaks to broader audiences as well as reduce some of the waste prevalent in our society. She feels that this practice is inherent with Indigenous cultures of practicality or using materials to their full potential and acting as a steward of the land.

The Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award honours artists who are lauded for their work in the national and/or international arenas and who choose to make Calgary their home. Regardless of career length, these artists are acknowledged by their peers around the world for the calibre of their work and their contributions to the arts.

Recipient: Cheryl Foggo
Cheryl Foggo’s commitment to excellence in all her artistic activities has enabled her to generate a body of creative work, earning her respect and acclaim locally, nationally, and internationally.

https://youtu.be/b8yGB76hwCc

CORRECTION: A previous version of this awards video included a piece of artwork that was not created by Alberta Rose Williams. It showed Pawatamowin by Cîpayak ᒌᐸᕀ the Calgary Public Library’s 2019 Indigenous Artist in Residence. We are incredibly sorry for this error and regret any harm it caused.

Thank you to Calgary 2012, the Office of the Mayor, champion sponsor Calgary Foundation, and the cultural leaders whose generosity makes these awards possible: ATB Financial, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, the Rozsa Foundation, Riaz Mamdani, RBC, SANDSTONE, TD Bank Group, and Her Honour, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, CM, AOE, LLD and His Honour, Honourary Colonel Douglas Mitchell, CM, AOE, QC, LLD.

We thank the Central Public Library, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Rozsa Foundation for their support through artist residencies and courses for the New Canadian Artist, the Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Artist, and the Emerging Arts Administrator.

Our appreciation also goes out to the Arts Patron event sponsors: Aspen Properties, Brookfield Residential, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Calgary Foundation, DIALOG, Platform Calgary, University of Calgary, and our media partners Nur Films and Kelly Brothers.

An invitation for the 2021 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

Partners

Thank you to all of our sponsors of the 2021 Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions.

PRESENTING SPONSOR
Logo – Calgary Foundation
ARTS PATRON TABLE SPONSORS

Aspen Properties
Brookfield Residential
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
University of Calgary

EVENT SPONSORS

Video Sponsor: Nur Films

SPECIAL THANKS

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Rozsa Foundation
Calgary Public Library

CULTURAL LEADERS LEGACY ARTIST AWARDS
Logos for the 2021 Cultural Leaders Legacy Awards

About the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions

Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions logo for 2020

The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions is a collaboration between Calgary Arts Development and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

In consultation with business and cultural industry advisors, this event was developed as a new way of expanding the circle of Arts Champions in Calgary, building on the Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts’ long history of bringing together the business and arts sectors.

The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions celebrates the transformative power of the arts, building momentum for the future.

Proceeds from this event go to artists and arts organizations through granting programs.

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An invitation for the 2020 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions

The sold-out Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, which was scheduled to take place on April 1, 2020, was cancelled due to COVID-19. We are hoping to celebrate with you again in 2021.

2020 Legacy Artist Award Winners Announced Online

The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, organized by Calgary Arts Development and the Office of the Mayor, is normally where the winners of each year’s Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards are announced. Even though this year’s Mayor’s Lunch has been postponed indefinitely, the Legacy Artist Award recipients are being announced and celebrated on April 1, 2020, the original date for the 2020 Mayor’s Lunch.

“Just because we couldn’t gather in person to honour these extraordinary Calgary artists doesn’t mean we have to wait until later in the year to distribute their awards,” says Calgary Arts Development President & CEO Patti Pon. “A healthy and vibrant arts community is the lifeblood of any city and artists and arts organizations were some of the first to feel the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A public event will be planned once we are able to gather again, but we didn’t want to wait to distribute these awards and celebrate the recipients.”

Recipients of the 2020 Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards were announced through a video featuring interviews with award-winners and sponsors posted on the Calgary Arts Development website. Each Legacy Award winner receives a $5,000 cash prize, which is funded by a contribution from a local philanthropist or organization with equal matching money from a legacy fund of Calgary 2012. Recipients are selected by a jury of peers.

This year, 47 outstanding artists and organizations were nominated, representing just some of the artistry that vitalizes our city every day. We thank all the nominees and congratulate this year’s recipients.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHyK-5HqZuQ

Partners

Thank you to all of our sponsors of the 2020 Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions.

Youth Arts Showcase Sponsor
Logo – Calgary Foundation
VIP Table Sponsor
Logo – Calgary Foundation
Arts Patron Table Sponsors

Aspen Properties
Brookfield Residential
Calgary Flames Foundation
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
TELUS
University of Calgary

Event Sponsors

Video Sponsor: Nur Films
Floral Artist Sponsor: Peaseblossoms Flowers & Stuff

Special Thanks

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Calgary Public Library

Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards
Logos – Calgary Arts Development, Calgary 2012, The City of Calgary, Strategic Group, Sandstone Asset Management Inc, ATB Financial, CCIS (Calgary Catholic Immigration Society), Rozsa Foundation, RBC Emerging Artist Award,


About the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions
Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions logo for 2020

The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions is a collaboration between Calgary Arts Development and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

In consultation with business and cultural industry advisors, this event was developed as a new way of expanding the circle of Arts Champions in Calgary, building on the Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts’ long history of bringing together the business and arts sectors.

The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions celebrates the transformative power of the arts, building momentum for the future.

Proceeds from this event go to artists and arts organizations through granting programs.

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Thank you to everyone who supported the 2019 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions 

With a great turnout and fantastic conversations, the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions was sold out for its seventh year in a row. Organized by Calgary Arts Development and the Office of the Mayor, the March 13 event saw 650 Calgarians from all sectors gather in the Palomino Room at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park to recognize and celebrate the many ways that they champion the arts in our city.

The event started with a Musical Land Acknowledgement featuring Olivia Tailfeathers and the Grassland Singers, Calgary Arts Development President & CEO Patti Pon, and visual artist Mandy Stobo.

[caption id="attachment_30697" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Olivia Tailfeathers and the Grassland Singers on stage at the 2019 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions Musical Land Acknowledgement featuring Olivia Tailfeathers and the Grassland Singers | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Hosted by Dave Kelly, the luncheon featured a conversation with distinguished panelists The Hon. Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta; The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson; and John Ralston Saul followed by remarks by His Worship Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“As arts champions, we can all use our hands, hearts, and minds to strengthen our community through the arts,” says Mayor Nenshi. “This is an incredibly exciting time and we can all support by attending, promoting, and investing in the arts in Calgary.”

[caption id="attachment_30669" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks to the audience at the 2019 Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Mayor Naheed Nenshi at the 2019 Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

For an hour before the lunch, youth artists (under age 21) entertained attendees as part of the Calgary Foundation Youth Arts Showcase including musicians, dancers, and visual artists.

“Every year we look forward to the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions,” says Pon. “It is a great event that recognizes people and organizations who celebrate the many ways artists and the arts contribute to building a great city.”

Recipients of the Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards were announced through a video featuring interviews with award-winners and sponsors. Each Legacy Award winner receives a $5,000 cash prize, which is funded by a contribution from a local philanthropist or organization with equal matching money from a legacy fund of Calgary 2012.

Recipients are selected by a jury of peers and this year’s winners are:

Vivek Shraya – ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award
Visionary multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya creates films, books, and songs that explore and interrogate the complex effects of racism, homophobia, and transphobia on mental and physical health.

[caption id="attachment_30670" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Vivek Shraya with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and ATB Financial's Sandra Huculak ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award: Vivek Shraya | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Samuel Obadero – Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award
Samuel Obadero is a skilled lifestyle photographer and a strong new voice for social advocacy in Calgary. His current project, The Forgotten Ones, gives voice to marginalized groups in Calgary through powerful imagery.

[caption id="attachment_30667" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Samuel Obadero with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and representatives from the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award: Samuel Obadero | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Peter Schryvers – Mamdani Arts Leadership Award
Peter Schryvers is the driving force behind the Beltline Urban Murals Project. His work facilitating a dozen stunning murals in the Beltline has inspired and activated the neighbourhood.

[caption id="attachment_30668" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Peter Schryvers with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Riaz Mamdani Mamdani Arts Leadership Award: Peter Schryvers | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Meghann Michalsky – RBC Emerging Artist Award
Meghann Michalsky’s emerging artist record demonstrates her prolific artistic output, her impressive motivation to growth and change, and her determined and productive investment in the Calgary community.

[caption id="attachment_30674" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Meghann Michalsky with Naheed Nenshi and representatives from RBC RBC Emerging Artist Award: Meghann Michalsky | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Bethany Yon – Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Administrator Award
Bethany Yon has led the transformation of Cowtown Opera from a startup to a professional arts organization in under two years with her passion and talent.

[caption id="attachment_30678" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Bethany Yon with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Mary Rozsa de Coquet, and Simon Mallett Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Administrator Award: Bethany Yon | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

JP Thibodeau – SANDSTONE City Builder Award
JP Thibodeau has a passion for creating theatre magic. He is being recognized for his commitment to bringing the Calgary artistic community together to make vibrant and accessible theatre for young audiences.

[caption id="attachment_30677" align="aligncenter" width="800"]JP Thibodeau with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and representatives from SANDSTONE SANDSTONE City Builder Award: JP Thibodeau | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

George Webber – Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award
George Webber’s breathtaking photography captures the soul of the prairies. From the haunting rooms of rundown hotels to disintegrating small town storefronts, Webber’s images have been collected around the globe.

[caption id="attachment_30679" align="aligncenter" width="800"]George Webber with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and he Hon. Lois E. Mitchell Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award: George Webber | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Partners

Thank you to all of our sponsors of the 2019 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions.

Champion Sponsor
Strategic
Youth Arts Showcase Sponsor
Logo – Calgary Foundation
VIP Table Sponsor
Logos - MLFAC 2019 VIP Table Sponsors logo soup
Arts Patron Table Sponsors

Alberta University of the Arts
Aspen Properties
Brookfield Residential
Calgary Flames Foundation
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
DIALOG
Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd.
TD Bank Group
TELUS
University of Calgary

Event Sponsors

Video Sponsor: Nur Films
Floral Artist Sponsor: Peaseblossoms Flowers & Stuff

Special Thanks

Kelly Brothers Productions Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Calgary Public Library

Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards
Logos – Calgary Arts Development, Calgary 2012, The City of Calgary, Strategic Group, Sandstone Asset Management Inc, ATB Financial, CCIS (Calgary Catholic Immigration Society), Rozsa Foundation, RBC Emerging Artist Award,

About the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions

Thank you to Champion Sponsor Strategic Group, Youth Arts Showcase Sponsor Calgary Foundation, and VIP Table Sponsors ATB Financial and Calgary Foundation.

Arts Patron Table Sponsors included Alberta University of the Arts, Aspen Properties, Brookfield Residential, Calgary Flames Foundation, CMLC, DIALOG, Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd., TD Bank Group, TELUS, and the University of Calgary.

Thank you all for celebrating with us. We look forward to seeing you at next year's event!

2019 Mayor's Lunch Logo
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Thank you all who supported the 2018 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions 

2018 Mayor's Lunch LogoWith a great turnout and fantastic conversations, the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions was sold out for a sixth year in a row. Organized by Calgary Arts Development and the Office of the Mayor, the April 18 event saw 630 Calgarians from all sectors gathered in the Palomino Room at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park to recognize and celebrate the many ways that they champion the arts in our city.

The event, hosted by Dave Kelly, featured a conversation with Mayor Naheed Nenshi including a question and answer session with Calgary artists and volunteers about the ways arts organizations are navigating new realities including the economic downturn. For an hour before the lunch, youth artists (under age 21) entertained attendees as part of the TELUS Youth Arts Showcase including musicians, DJs, circus performers, dancers, drummers, and visual artists.

“As arts champions, we have a tremendous role to play in ensuring a vibrant and dynamic arts and culture scene in Calgary,” says Mayor Nenshi. “By attending, promoting, and investing in the arts in Calgary, we are actively building a better economy and stronger neighbourhoods for all our citizens.”

[caption id="attachment_17664" align="aligncenter" width="2048"]Dave Kelly and Mayor Naheed Nenshi converse at the Mayor's Lunch 2018 Dave Kelly and Mayor Naheed Nenshi at the 2018 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions | Photo: Benjamin Laird[/caption]

Recipients of the Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards were announced through a video featuring interviews with award-winners and sponsors. Each Legacy Award winner receives a $5,000 cash prize, which is funded by a contribution from a local philanthropist or organization with equal matching money from Calgary 2012.

Recipients are selected by a jury of peers and this year’s winners are:

ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award: Wendy Passmore-Godfrey
Wendy Passmore-Godfrey founded W.P. Puppet Theatre Society in 1991 to explore social issues such as mental health, education, diversity, and the environment through original puppet performances and learning opportunities.

[caption id="attachment_17969" align="aligncenter" width="742"]ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award 2018 ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award: Wendy Passmore-Godfrey | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award: Lanre Ajayi
Lanre Ajayi is an emerging Nigerian artist and fashion designer based in Calgary and is driven to develop and launch his ethical fashion line in Canada. He is a visionary producing wearable fresh colours, patterns and silhouettes, all based on the inspired abstract paintings that he creates

[caption id="attachment_17970" align="aligncenter" width="742"]Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award 2018 Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award: Lanre Ajayi | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Colin Jackson and Arlene Strom Creative Placemaking Award: Sean Fraser
Sean Fraser has worked tirelessly towards the creation and promotion of affordable and accessible space for artists and the community to work within one space for the benefit of all.

[caption id="attachment_17971" align="aligncenter" width="742"]Colin Jackson and Arlene Strom Creative Placemaking Award 2018 Colin Jackson and Arlene Strom Creative Placemaking Award: Sean Fraser | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

RBC Emerging Artist Award: Natasha Jensen
Natasha Jensen’s art practice has a strong feminist voice that resonates through drawings, animations and programming that is disrupting the cultural landscape.

[caption id="attachment_17972" align="aligncenter" width="742"]RBC Emerging Artist Award 2018 RBC Emerging Artist Award: Natasha Jensen | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

SANDSTONE City Builder Award: Inside Out Theatre
Inside Out Theatre is a momentous force using a well-rounded arts approach to insist on and celebrate people with disabilities’ place within Calgary’s cultural landscape.

[caption id="attachment_17973" align="aligncenter" width="742"]SANDSTONE City Builder Award 2018 SANDSTONE City Builder Award: Inside Out Theatre | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award: Sandi Somers
Sandi Somers, a passionate, award-winning filmmaker and mentor, creates thought-provoking films for audiences worldwide while working towards advancing women and LGBTQ in media arts in Calgary and Alberta.

[caption id="attachment_17974" align="aligncenter" width="742"]Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award 2018 Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award: Sandi Somers | Photo: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo[/caption]

Thank you to Champion Sponsor Strategic Group, Youth Arts Showcase Sponsor TELUS, and VIP Table Sponsors ATB Financial Group and Calgary Foundation, as well as Arts Patron Table Sponsors Aspen Properties, Brookfield Residential, Calgary Flames Foundation, DIALOG, TD Bank Group, and the University of Calgary.

We look forward to seeing you at next year's event!

Partners

Thank you to all of our sponsors of the 2018 Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions.

Champion Sponsor

Strategic

Youth Arts Showcase Sponsor

Image logo - TELUS

 2018 VIP Table Sponsors

Mayor's Lunch 2018 Table Sponsors

2018 Arts Patron Table Sponsors
  • Aspen Properties
  • Brookfield Residential
  • Calgary Flames Foundation
  • DIALOG
  • TD Bank Group
  • University of Calgary
Legacy Award Partner

calgary 2012

Event Sponsors

Video Sponsor: Nur Films
Floral Artist Sponsor: Peaseblossoms Flowers & Stuff

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Tom McCabe and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards

Image logos and Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards Sponsors - ATB Financial, CCIS, Sandstone and RBC Emerging Artist Project, Colin Jackson and Arlene Strom, Doug & Lois Mitchell

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Colourful graphic for the Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek.

Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek

Thank you to everyone who joined Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Calgary’s arts and business leaders at the 2023 Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

More than 800 people were in attendance for an evening featuring Poet Laureate Wakefield Brewster as emcee and more than 200 local performers as part of an exciting lineup that included Reuben & the Dark with the Bullhorn Singers, Madhuban Performing Arts, Klave Latin Band and a collective of Calgary choirs. Mayor Gondek had the audience on their feet when she joined the Heebee-jeebees band in a surprise performance, belting out Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

2023 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards recipients (clockwise from top left): Sahar Hakimi, Kadra Yusuf, Kristy North Peigan, Francis A. Willey, Tara Vahab, Karen Begg (EAR) and Cassie Suche.

The evening also recognized outstanding achievement in the arts with the presentation of the 2023 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards.

This year, 65 outstanding artists and organizations were nominated for the awards, representing just some of the artistry that vitalizes our city every day. In 2022, Calgary Arts Development invested $13.6 million through 676 grants to individual artists and arts organizations, which resulted in over 26,000 arts experiences with a participation rate of 4.4 million. The Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards are one way of recognizing artistic accomplishment and community impact.

We thank all the nominees and congratulate this year’s recipients:

ATB Powering Possibility Through the Arts Award

2023 recipient: Elephant Artist Relief Society
Elephant Artist Relief Society (EAR) develops and presents programming that supports artists of all disciplines to help sustain their well-being and livelihood, and powers possibility for the Calgary artistic community.

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award

2023 recipient: Sahar Hakimi
Sahar Hakimi is a visual artist whose work focuses on the human rights of minority groups, and mental health and cognitive barriers, while providing meaningful experience and services for people with disabilities, children and newcomers.

The Legacy of Doug and Lous Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award

2023 recipient: Francis A. Willey
Francis A. Willey is a multi-disciplinary artist and a pillar of the arts community in Calgary. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Francis has worked as a fine art photographer, poet, musician, visual artist, art curator, and a mentor to emerging artists in Calgary.

Mamdani Arts Leadership

2023 recipient: Fatemeh Tara Vahab
Fatemeh Tara Vahab is board chair at LOUD Art Society. Tara’s leadership skills include steering LAS to attain CRA charity status, developing operational strategies, engaging volunteers, mentoring youth and advocating art therapy.

RBC Emerging Artist Award

2023 recipient: Cassandra Suche
Cassandra Suche is an exceptional talent who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to Calgary through her experimental art practice and outstanding contributions to the city’s arts community.

Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Manager Award

2023 recipient: Kadra Yusuf
Kadra Yusuf, artistic director at EMMEDIA, has made measurable impact on diversity and inclusion, created innovative programs, and fostered productive collaborations, positioning herself and the organization for future success. Her dedication to serving the arts sector and contributions to the Calgary arts community make her extremely deserving of this award.

Indigenous Artist Award

2023 recipient: Kristy North Peigan
Kristy North Peigan is a member of the Piikani First Nation and a freelance artist and designer in Calgary. She is a graduate of the Alberta University of the Arts, and uses Indigenous teachings and subject matter to portray a modern view of Indigenous voices. This award is sponsored by TD Bank Group.

https://youtu.be/a7cgsMquU5A

Partners

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Event History

The Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek continues the annual tradition of bringing the business and arts sectors together to celebrate Calgary artists and arts organizations and recognize outstanding achievement. This event, held in collaboration with Mayor Jyoti Gondek, replaces the previous Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, a collaboration between Calgary Arts Development and former Mayor Naheed Nenshi. It evolved from a longstanding event established by the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance (CPAA) in 1993 to bring Calgary’s business and art sectors together in recognition of the important relationships that foster artistic achievement in Calgary. The Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts, and later the Mayor’s Evening for Business and the Arts, enjoyed support from each civic administration since their inception. From 1993 to 2010, the CPAA and the Mayor’s Luncheon for Business and the Arts recognized over 30 outstanding arts and business partnership and over 20 emerging, established and innovative Calgary artists.

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