2023 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards recipients announced

News Release Categories: 2023

2023 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards recipients announced

For immediate release
October 19, 2023

(Calgary AB) — The 2023 Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards were announced at the Celebration for the Arts hosted by Mayor Gondek on Wednesday, October 18 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary with more than 800 people in attendance. The Celebration for the Arts included an onstage presentation featuring emcee Wakefield Brewster and more than 200 local performers as well as a video announcing the award winners. The onstage portion of the event was followed by an after-party in the Jack Singer Lobby.

This year, 65 outstanding artists and organizations were nominated, 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.

The Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards are a legacy of Calgary’s year as a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2012. Each award is funded by a contribution from a local philanthropist or organization with each recipient receiving a $5,000 cash prize. We thank the benefactors, nominators and juries of these awards and all the nominees. We congratulate this year’s recipients listed below:

The ATB Powering Possibility Through the Arts Award recognizes and supports organizations that are committed to enriching Calgary through arts programming that power possibilities for the local creative community. The award is intended to allow a presenting body the ability to continue their work and expand their impact in the arts and culture community. Award recipient 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.

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award was established to recognize that artists from all parts of the world enrich Calgary’s arts sector. This award recognizes and supports an individual artist whose cultural background and relatively recent arrival to Canada result in communication challenges, difficulties in transferring relevant credentials, and isolation from Calgary’s arts community. The award intends to help these artists pursue their artistic work and connect with the institutions and support networks that are available to all Calgary artists. Award recipient Sahar Hakimi is a visual artist whose work focuses on the human rights of minority groups, mental health and cognitive barriers, while providing meaningful experiences and services for people with disabilities, children and newcomers.

The Legacy of Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award was established to honour artists who are lauded for their work in national and international arenas and 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. They are innovators who have significantly enriched artistic discourse in Canada. Award recipient 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 and art curator, and mentor to emerging artists in Calgary.

The Mamdani Arts Leadership Award recognizes and rewards the integral role of board members who lend their expertise, talent and time to supporting the work of arts organizations and festivals that make Calgary a vibrant and creative city. This award honours an arts volunteer board member who goes above and beyond to support the logistics, programming, operation and/or culture of the organization(s) they choose to support. Award recipient 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 arts therapy.

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 outset. The intent of the award is to bring recognition and awareness to outstanding artists in the early phases of their careers. Award recipient Cassie 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.

The Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Manager Award is intended to honour an early career arts administrator who is doing noteworthy work, both within the organizations that they are working for, but also in the broader community. Award recipient 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.

TD Bank Group is very proud to sponsor the Indigenous Artist Award and to recognize this year’s winner, Kristy North Peigan. This award was created to recognize the contributions of Indigenous artists, crafts peoples and knowledge keepers to Calgary. 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.

For more information, view the event program here and watch a video presentation of the arts awards here.

Thank you to all the benefactors whose generosity makes these awards possible: ATB Financial, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, the Rozsa Foundation, Riaz Mamdani and Strategic Group, RBC, TD Bank Group and Her Honour Lois Mitchell. We also thank the Central Public Library and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for their support through artist residencies for the New Canadian Artist, Indigenous Artist, and The Legacy of Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Artist Award winners. And we acknowledge and thank the Rozsa Foundation for including a spot in their Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) for the winner of the Emerging Arts Manager Award.

Learn more about the Cultural Leaders Legacy Arts Awards at calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

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.

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Further Information
Helen Moore-Parkhouse
Director, Communications and Events, Calgary Arts Development
Phone: (office) 403.264.5330 ext. 102; (mobile) 587.227.0150
Email: helen.moore-parkhouse@calgaryartsdevelopment.com

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