2011 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts

The 24th annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts took place tonight at the Winspear Centre. Sharon and I attended for the fourth year in a row, and were happy to learn that this year our tickets would be supporting the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival’s Comedy Cares Program and the iHuman Youth Society. The evening always brings out an eclectic mix of Edmontonians, and features a broad range of local artists.

Mayor Mandel’s message in the event program thanked local businesses for their support of the arts:

I also offer a special thank you to the many Edmonton businesses and community organizations for their continued and unwavering support of the arts. Their generosity and encouragement have made a lasting difference to our artists, making it possible for them to achieve enormous success.

He echoed those thoughts during his time on stage, but also used the opportunity to call upon new businesses to step up in support of the arts. He noted that we see the same, few organizations year after year, and while they are absolutely appreciated, it would be nice to see some new faces join them. As he wrapped up, Mayor Mandel joked that he was done preaching for the evening, but I thought his comments were appropriate.

Mayor's Celebration of the Arts 2011
The Be Arthurs performed an interesting mix of songs as guests arrived, including Lady Gaga and the Ghostbusters theme!

The full list of tonight’s nominees is available at the PACE website. Here are the winners:

Mayor’s Award for Sustained Support of the Arts
Lexus of Edmonton, nominated by Alberta Ballet

Mayor’s Award for Innovative Support of the Arts by a Business
ATB Financial, nominated by Alberta Music Industry Association

John Poole Award for Promotion of the Arts
Avenue Magazine, nominated by Edmonton Opera

City of Edmonton Book Prize
Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium by Myrna Kostash, University of Alberta Press

ATCO Gas Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement
Charles Thomas Peacocke, nominated by Catalyst Theatre

Stantec Youth Award
Cynthia Hicks, nominated by Philippine Barangay Performing Arts Society

Northlands Award for an Emerging Artist
Arlen Konopaki, nominated by Tessi Flood

The Sutton Place Hotel People’s Choice Award
Ulrike Rossier, nominated by Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts

Molson Coors Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction
Sandro Dominelli, nominated by Nathalie Tait

TELUS Courage to Innovate Award
Geri Actors & Friends, nominated by Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council

Mayor's Celebration of the Arts 2011Mayor's Celebration of the Arts 2011

Tonight’s performances included:

I quite enjoyed the Good Women Dance Collective, it was an interesting way to open the show. Roland Pemberton’s poem was new, for an upcoming public art project. He won the crowd over making reference to Keillor Road and the infamous baseball bat on Alberta Avenue. Kat Danser was great, as always, and the Strathcona High School’s theatre program students did a wonderful job with St. Aggies ‘84. Dave Babcock was an excellent selection to close the show, as his upbeat tunes made it possible for the return of the big closing dance! A few people got up on stage to shake it, but unfortunately it wasn’t as big as years past.

Congratulations to all of tonight’s nominees and winners!

Mayor's Celebration of the Arts 2011

Save the date for next year’s event, the 25th anniversary, set to take place on April 2, 2012.

You can see more photos from the evening here. You can read my previous recaps here: 2008, 2009, 2010.