Faculty of Arts alumni clean up at Mayor's Celebration of the Arts

    Arts alumni among many to be recognized for important contributions to the Edmonton arts scene

    By Angelique Rodrigues with files from Salena Kitteringham on April 23, 2015

    A talented and diverse group of Faculty of Arts alumni were recognized this week for their contributions to our city’s arts scene at the 27th Annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts awards night.

    Canadian literary legend, Rudy Wiebe ('56 BA (Gen), '60 MA and '09 DLitt [Hon.), took home the $10,000 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize on April 20, for his latest novel, Come Back. Other nominees in the category included former Faculty of Arts Writer-in-Residence Tim Bowling - last year’s Kroetsch award winner - and Arts alumnus and professor Greg Bechtel (‘11 PhD).

    Amy Shostak ('07 BA), outgoing artistic director at Rapid Fire Theatre, was nominated for two awards, Progressive Artist and the DIALOG Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction. Shostak, who was unable to attend the ceremony, won in the latter category and says it’s an honour to be recognized by the city she loves.

    “Celebrating my work and the work of Rapid Fire Theatre is a celebration of theatrical improvisation, and I think these awards demonstrate how progressive Edmonton's art scene is,” she says. “Not every city has a Mayor's Celebration of the Arts. This tradition demonstrates that The City of Edmonton supports and values the arts, when not every government may to the same degree.”

    Visual artist and writer Alexis Marie Chute ('07 BFA) snagged the John Poole Award for Promotion of the Arts. Mayor Don Iveson says Chute was chosen because of her “work to promote Edmonton arts and artists to a wide audience here in our city and beyond.”

    Chute, an award-winning visual artist working in paint, sculpture, photography and mixed media celebrated with a quick selfie on stage with Iveson. She says the award night showcases the “pockets of creativity” in Edmonton that don’t typically overlap.

    “The event is a beautiful coming-together to inspire us all to press on and be exceptional,” she says. "To be recognized for my arts advocacy and curation, the work I do because I am passionate about it and believe in it so much, is truly a gift.”

    Contemporary dance and theatre artist Amber Borotsik ('01 BFA) also took home the Telus Courage to Innovate award.

    The Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts showcases Edmonton’s artists, promoters and appreciators, as well as supporters in the media and business community.

    Proceeds from this year’s awards ceremony will go to Theatre Network, which lost its longtime home when the Roxy Theatre burned down on Jan. 13.

    For more information on the awards, visit http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/edmonton_archives/mayors-celebration-of-the-arts.aspx.