Sharon and I attended our third straight, and the 23rd annual, Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts tonight, held at the Winspear Centre. The event “celebrates some of the best artistic talents our city has to offer” and offers “sample-sized performances from some of Edmonton’s most talented artists and performers.” I’ve always enjoyed myself in the past, and tonight was no different.
Here is Mayor Mandel’s message to all Friends of the Arts, clearly inspired by the Vancouver Olympics:
Our creative culture helps make Edmonton the interesting and exciting city we are proud to call home and I’m proud to host this celebration of one of our city’s greatest assets.
Throughout the Vancouver Olympics, many of us felt inspired and proud as we watched out athletes strive for excellence. Like our Olympic athletes, Edmonton’s artists, writers and performers entertain and inspire us…stimulate and challenge us. This evening is all about Edmonton’s creative minds and their drive for excellence and achievement.
As well, during the Olympics we saw many stories of the “difference makers” – those who support our athletes as they strive to excel, and we were touched by these stories. In Edmonton, it is our businesses and community that are the difference makers to our artists – standing behind them and supporting them in their endeavours.
Tonight, we honour every member of Edmonton’s creative culture, and thank those who support it. Enjoy the show!
The full list of tonight’s nominees is available at the PACE website. Here are the winners:
The Mayor’s Award for Sustained Support of the Arts
Players de Novo, nominated by Concrete Theatre
The Mayor’s Award for Innovative Support by a Business for the Arts
Maclab Enterprises, Bruce Bentley, President & CEO, nominated by Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
John Poole Award for Promotion of the Arts
Allan E. Scott, nominated by Art Gallery of Alberta
City of Edmonton Book Prize
Waiting for Columbus, Thomas Trofimuk, McClelland & Stewart
Stantec Youth Artist Award ($2500 cash prize)
Matthew Jonah, nominated by Greg Dowler-Coltman
TELUS Courage to Innovate Award ($2500 cash prize)
Trevor Anderson, nominated by City of Edmonton, Office of the Environment
Northlands Award for an Emerging Artist ($2500 cash prize)
Raymond Biesinger, nominated by David Berry
Molson Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction ($2500 cash prize)
Greg Dowler-Coltman, nominated by Edmonton Opera
Sutton Place People’s Choice Award
Jeff Holmwood, glassworks
ATCO Gas Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement ($2500 cash prize)
Alice Major, nominated by John Mahon
- Yellow Ribbon Dancers, who opened the show
- Good Spirit Trio, classical musicians
- Jeremy Baumung & Kenneth Brown, who performed Homeless, a really moving story about working in one of Edmonton’s toughest homeless shelters
- Allez Ouest, the face of Franco-Albertan music
- 3rd Street Beat, Edmonton’s first hip hop studio, who wowed the crowd after the intermission
- Andrew Grose, a very funny comedian who made everyone laugh with his “bed in a bag” bit
- The Wheat Pool, who performed two songs from their new album – I definitely need to check these guys out
- Vinok Worldance, who closed the show
My favorite performance was easily 3rd Street Beat, they really stole the show for a few minutes! I also really enjoyed The Wheat Pool, Andrew Grose, and Jeremy Baumung’s performance, which was top notch. The diversity of performances seemed to be back this year, though the second half of the night definitely had the most energy.
Sharon and I were kind of looking forward to the big dance at the end – where everyone, including the Mayor, gets up on stage as part of the final performance – but for whatever reason it didn’t happen this year. I guess the High School Musical-inspired foyer dance at the beginning made up for it though!
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!