On Monday night I attended the 21st annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts at the Winspear Centre downtown. The annual event features performances by members of Edmonton’s arts community, and awards to celebrate the individuals who helped to make Edmonton the Cultural Capital of Canada. I came across it a couple months ago when I noticed that Teatro La Quindicina would be performing. Sharon and I are both fans, so we decided to buy tickets.
We paid $25 to sit in the front row of the Upper Circle level. The gallery (top level) was filled with students who were sponsored by Epcor and other businesses. The main level seemed to be full of representatives from sponsor organizations, the award nominees, and their friends and family. The reason I mention all this is that we got the distinct feeling we were among the few who actually paid out-of-pocket for tickets. Apparently attendance was up this year though.
The inside page of the event programme contained this message from Mayor Stephen Mandel. I quite like it (wonder if he wrote it, guessing not) so I’ve included it here in its entirety:
Take a bow, if you make your living in the arts – you give us the kind of City we want to live in. You make us laugh and think and smile and marvel and tap-our-toes, and you contribute to our great quality-of-life.
Take a bow, if you’ve supported the arts. Businesses, individuals, groups and volunteers – you’re vital in making sure our Creative Community flourishes so that great quality-of-life continues.
And take a bow if you’ve bought a ticket to be part of an audience. It gives you license to be a critic and a fan – and it ensures that even when we pass the title to another city, Edmonton will continue to be “Canada’s Cultural Capital”.
On-stage, on-screen, in theatres and cafes, out on our streets and in our concert halls, it’s a privilege to live in a City that’s bursting with so much creativity. And a privilege too, to be part of a City that’s filled with those who invest in and support it.
Congratulations to everyone who’s part of Edmonton’s professional arts community – and everyone who supports it.
The event was emceed by Peter Brown from CBC Edmonton, and Carrie Doll from CTV Edmonton. They did a great job, and Peter was especially funny! I found the most boring part of the show to be the awards. You can view the list of winners here (PDF).
The performances were what I really went to see. Kita No Taiko, Renee Brad of the Edmonton Opera, Red Power Squad, Brian Webb Dance Company, Samantha Schultz, Teatro La Quindicina, and Le Fuzz all performed. My favorites were definitely Red Power Squad, Samantha Schultz, and Teatro. The final performance by Le Fuzz was pretty cool too, as many of the attendees got up on stage and started dancing, including the mayor himself.
Not sure if I’d attend every year, but the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts is definitely a great way to sample the variety offered by Edmonton’s art scene.