A collage of images featuring Sophia Lebessis & Cowboy Smithx
Sophia Lebessis & Cowboy Smithx | Photos: Samuel Obadero & Mauricio Flores

Sophia Lebessis & Cowboy Smithx

Two of our original Indigenous advisory committee share their insights and stories

Cherie McMaster & Sable Sweetgrass

With an Inuit and Greek background, Sophia Lebessis grew up in family-run art galleries. Today, she is the writer of her unique story, and owns and runs Transformation Fine Art. Joining her is Cowboy Smithx, a filmmaker, a theatre artist, and a community organizer from the Kainai and Piikani Nations.

Turning raw talent into a business and seeing growth as artists move through their careers, both see the need for evolution by artists and those who fund them.

“It’s taken 20 years of evolution to put in blood, sweat, tears, dedication, putting in everything you have to build this business, to build our lifestyle,” says Lebessis. “And I don’t see a pandemic effecting that, or holding us back in anyway. I think it’s actually made us stronger. We’ve come together more. I mean, I don’t know what I would have done without Cowboy in the pandemic. We just still kept this creativity going.”

Tune in to hear more about Calgary Arts Development’s Indigenous advisory committee from two of its original members and explore the importance of building relationships in the arts world while fostering business skills in addition to creative ones.

About The Storytelling Podcast: Indigenous Stories

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts.

Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about local Indigenous artists who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, effecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

Have a story to share? Email us at submissions@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

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