Alberta's strong and positive arts future

EDMONTON, May 31 /CNW/ - "The strong and positive future of Alberta's arts community continues to be clearly evident by the submissions received for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation's biennial emerging artist program," said Susan Green, Foundation chair, in announcing the names of this year's winners.

"Submissions were received from all parts of Alberta, and our adjudication committee was faced with reviewing 75 strong submissions before finalizing the seven that would receive this year's awards. I then had the most enjoyable task of contacting each of the recipients to tell them of their awards. It was wonderful to experience their excitement, on hearing the news."

Because of the continued strain on finances in many foundations, it was resolved earlier this year that the number of awards would be limited to seven, instead of the ten, which were presented two years ago in the inaugural emerging artist program.

The natural talents of the selected candidates were developed in a variety of locations across Alberta, while four are now based in Calgary, two in Edmonton and one in New York.

The Banff Centre, an ongoing partner with the Foundation, coordinated the adjudication of the entries. The panel assembled for this year's program included two Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Distinguished Artist laureates - curator and gallery director, Joan Stebbins, and writer Greg Hollingshead, together with CBC broadcaster and music critic, Katherine Duncan.

Again, the award recipients represent a wide range of arts disciplines, covering two dancers; a musician; a filmmaker; a theatre performer, producer and playwright; a visual arts duo; and a trio of glass artists.

Each will receive their awards next month from Alberta's new Lieutenant Governor, His Honour, Col. (Ret'd.) Donald Ethell, at a special ceremony in Government House in Edmonton.

A brief background of the 2010 Emerging Artist awards, in alphabetical order, follows:

Trevor Anderson, as a self-taught filmmaker, has been incredibly productive, completing seven short films including his initial 2005 production, "Rugburn". His productions have been featured in more than a hundred international film festivals, including Berlin, Cardiff and Zurich, while they have also been broadcast in Canada on MTV and Bravo channels and Canal+ in Spain. Amazingly, on top of all this, he still finds time to play in an Edmonton-based band, The Wet Secrets, whose song "The Secret March" was listed by Grant Lawrence of CBC Radio as one of the 20 "Best songs of the Decade".

Bee Kingdom Collective is a trio of young men - Timothy Belliveau, Phillip Bandura and Ryan March Fairweather - who met in the glass classes at the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2004. Since then, they have taken a totally collective approach to creating "honey-like" qualities in their liquid glass designs. The Collective has been operating on a full-time basis since 2006, with increasing demand for their work for international showings and civic and corporate commissions. Last year's Collective exhibition, Cities, was featured in Berlin, resulting in a repeat presentation this year, with their current exhibition, Soft Power.

David Foy & Jennifer Saleik studied together and gained their Fine Arts Diplomas in 2003 from Edmonton's Grant MacEwan College. The following year they formed the Dave and Jenn team, prior to earning their BFAs with distinction from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. Their distinctive approach to painting was described by Nancy Tousley, the Calgary Herald art critic, as "distinctive and engaging" and "highly innovative in both form and content, produced with a speed and assurance I have seen only once before." Similarly the award adjudication panel identified their "really original work."

Helen Husak is, according to the adjudication panel, "on the cusp of going big" as one of Canada's leading contemporary dancers. Based in Calgary, where she gained a Bachelor of Arts with distinction at the University of Calgary's Dance Program, she has studied with a wide array of influential mentors from across the country. While her solo dance works have been presented in a wide range of festivals across Canada, Helen has also played a key role in developing training programs and meeting places for professional dancers in Calgary. Two years ago, she received the Enbridge Emerging Artist Award at the Mayor's Evening for Business and the Arts in Calgary.

Jana O'Connor describes herself as an Edmonton-born performer, producer, theatre instructor and emerging playwright. This, however, portrays a quiet modesty when compared to the broad range of her activities and performances across the Edmonton region - and the manner in which she is training the area's youth in the arts. A cast member and writer of the CBC radio nationally broadcast improv program, "The Irrelevant Show", Jana has taught theatre and improv techniques to both youths and adults. On a different scope, she was the artistic director for the City of Edmonton's portion of the Olympic Torch Relay Celebration, which showcased nearly 200 artists at eight different sites.

Kaiti Pasqualotto, who performs as a dancer and performance artist under the name Kaiti Dangerkat, is another graduate of the University of Calgary, and is now based in New York City. Kaiti also studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Edith Cowan University in Australia, practicing in print media, textile design and contemporary performance - which clearly illustrate the wide-ranging scope of her art. While her performances blend a wide variety of music and styles, she is also recognized for her avant garde fashion sense. She has established her company, House of Dangerkat, in both Calgary and New York, offering both dance classes and performances by herself and fellow performers.

Karl Schwonik studied violin in the Suzuki program for 10 years as a child, while living on his family farm near Gwynne. However, he then became restless and convinced his parents to support a major musical switch by buying him a drum kit. The rest, as they say, is history. Almost immediately after graduating from high school he started out on a tour with Canadian country music artist, Heather-Dawn, which led to an invitation to study at the Banff Centre. At that time he was the youngest artist ever accepted into the school's long-term career residency program. Since then he has toured all over Canada and the US and has performed at both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Centre. On top of those achievements, he is the President and Founder of the Wetaskiwin Jazz Society and the Artistic Director of the Wetaskiwin Jazz Camp.


For further information: For further information: on the Awards program contact: Susan Green, Board Chair, (780) 908-1149 or visit the program's website at; The award winners contact information is: Trevor Anderson: (780) 860-3060 or; Bee Kingdom members: (403) 277-7375 or; David Foy & Jennifer Saleik: (403) 270-8825 or; Helen Husak: (403) 553-0675 or; Jana O'Connor: (780) 488-3096 or; Kaiti Pasqualotto: (646) 363-4225 or; Karl Schwonik: (514) 518-1361 or

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