2012 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts

mca2012The 25th annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts took place last night at the Winspear Centre. Being the silver anniversary, Sharon and I just couldn’t miss it! As in years past it was a fun evening of awards and performances, not to mention a great networking opportunity for everyone in attendance. This year the event came very close to selling out, which is great news for the chosen cause for 2012 – the Rock & Roll Society of Edmonton’s Centre for Arts and Music. It was fantastic to see so many people out in support of our amazing arts community here in Edmonton!

Here’s an excerpt of Mayor Mandel’s message in the program:

Arts and culture form the very heart and spirit of our city and for 25 years this event has celebrated the best artistic talents our city has to offer. Every year, some of Edmonton’s most talented artists perform at this event leaving me with renewed appreciation of Edmonton’s immensely talented arts community.

The Mayor seemed to be in a particularly joyful mood last night! His remarks during the show were brief, but he had some fun with MCs Peter Brown and Carrie Doll. At the end of the evening, he even instigated the on-stage dancing, which is something of a tradition for the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts.

2012 Mayor's Celebration of the Arts

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

Mayor’s Award for Sustained Support of the Arts
Realtors Association of Edmonton, Jon Hall, nominated by Azimuth Theatre Association

Mayor’s Award for Innovative Support of the Arts by a Business
ATCO Gas & Electric, nominated by Victoria School of the Arts

John Poole Award for Promotion of the Arts
Arts on the Ave, nominated by Theatre Prospero

Robert Koetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
Freddy’s War by Judy Schultz, Brindle & Glass Publishing Ltd.

CN Youth Artist Award
Candace Chu, nominated by Alberta College Conservatory of Music

Northlands Award for an Emerging Artist
Jason Carter, nominated by Jessica Aube

DIALOG Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction
Marsh Murphy, nominated by Kyle Armstrong

TELUS Courage to Innovate Award
iDANCE Edmonton, nominated by Alison Neuman

ATCO Gas Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement
Brian Webb, nominated by bottom line productions inc.

The evening’s performances, sponsored by Syncrude, included:

I’m a big Colleen Brown fan, so I really enjoyed her set. I thought Brett Kissel did a fantastic job as the show opener! He’s obviously a talented artist but was funny and personable on stage too. He got the audience clapping along which really set the tone for the show. I also really liked the guys from Caution: May Contain Nuts. They did an Arnold Schwarzenegger segment which was pretty funny. I think lots of people in the audience enjoyed seeing Tommy Banks perform too. Christian Hansen did a wonderful job closing the show – he was very high energy!

2012 Mayor's Celebration of the Arts

Some of the kids from the Rock & Roll Society also performed a song that they themselves composed. The Centre for Arts & Music is a program that helps students learn how to write lyrics, compose music, play instruments, record & produce, engineer video, perform on stage, and many other skills. More than 100 kids have benefitted from the program, which is ten weeks and consists of two sessions of two hours each week. You can learn more here.

2012 Mayor's Celebration of the Arts

Unlike in years past, there was no intermission during last night’s event. That meant that the evening flowed smoothly and quickly, and it meant that everyone got to enjoy the after party! Food was sponsored by Northlands, and it was great to see so many people stick around for the party. It added an excellent social element to the show that I think was mostly missing from previous events. During the after party, a few volunteers walked around with iPod touches preloaded with Touch Metric’s Surveyor to ask attendees to fill out an exit survey. It worked really well!

2012 Mayor's Celebration of the Arts 2012 Mayor's Celebration of the Arts

Congratulations to all of the 2012 nominees and winners! And thank you to all of the sponsors who made the event possible!

This year I joined the event Steering Committee, so it was great to see how it all works from the other side. I joined about halfway through the planning for this year’s event, so I am definitely looking forward to having a bigger impact on next year’s edition!

You can see more photos from the evening here. You can read my previous recaps here: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

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