Six Legacy Artist Award winners honoured at Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions

News Release Categories: 2018

Six Legacy Artist Award winners honoured at Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions

April 18, 2018

Hundreds of attendees at sold-out event celebrate the many ways of being an arts champion

(Calgary AB) – The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions, organized by Calgary Arts Development and the Office of the Mayor, was sold-out for the sixth year in a row. On April 18, 2018, 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.

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. This year’s winners are:

Wendy Passmore-Godfrey – ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award
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.

Lanre Ajayi – Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award
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

Sean Fraser – Colin Jackson and Arlene Strom Creative Placemaking Award
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. 

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

Inside Out Theatre – SANDSTONE City Builder Award
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. 

Sandi Somers – Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award
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. 

More information is available at

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

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 Engagement, Calgary Arts Development
Phone: (office) 403.264.5330 ext. 102; (mobile) 587.227.0150

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