Lieutenant Governor Alberta Arts AwardA Six Day Celebration of Arts and Culture

by David Olinger

June promises to be a feast for the creative senses of Peace Country residents.

The Iskoteo Arts Festival, in conjunction with the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Gala, will provide six days of arts and cultural activities for the entire family.

Alderman Helen Rice chairs the organizing committee. The organizing committee has representatives from the City of Grande Prairie, Grande Prairie Regional College, The Grande Prairie Public Library, the Prairie Art Gallery, Wordspinner, the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, The Art of the Peace Society and the community at large.

“We want to make this celebration something to remember and to leave a legacy,” she says. “Grande Prairie was chosen to host the Arts Awards because of its demonstrated commitment to the cultural community and our ability to host major provincial, national and international events.”

Iskoteo, a Cree word meaning fire in the sky, was the cultural component of the 1995 Canada Winter Games, making it natural to reintroduce it as a festival built around the awards. The date enhances the significance of the event, occurring during National Aboriginal Day and the Summer Solistice.

The festival includes music, visual arts and literary activities. Each day focuses on a different sector of the area’s arts and cultural communities, highlighting an array of performers and artisans.

It starts with Municipal Government Day at the Montrose Cultural Centre on June 16.

Grande Prairie’s Public Library will feature several children and young adult authors and a Puppet Play and Story Time. The Centre for Creative Arts will exhibit forty creatively designed skateboard decks, present a pottery demonstration with Potter Bibi Clement and home to various Wordspinner events; poet and author Sid Marty is delivering a fiction workshop, Angela Kublik, publisher for House of Blue Skies, and David and Rose Scollard of Frontenac House, are offering informational seminars.

The Farmers Market will host a Summer Solstice Super Market on 101 Avenue.

Art of the Peace Society will open a Juried Art Show at GPRC. GPRC is launching an Art Walk of their permanent collection and an exhibit from the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, as well as hosting “Songs of Solstice” at the Douglas Cardinal Performing Arts Theatre.

The Prairie Art Gallery is hosting the Provincial Curators Conference and an exhibit from Bib Clement’s Vigil of Angels and East Wind Blows West by Yasuo Terada.

The focal point of the week is the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Gala. The Honorable Norman L. Kwong, C.M., A.O.E., Lieutenant Governor of Alberta will present the awards.

“The gala will be a spectacular event, celebrating the summer solstice with a fire and ice-themed dinner,” says Gala Chair Janet Longmate. “We are honoured to welcome artists and guests from across the province to this prestigious celebration.”

Two Distinguished Artists will receive $30,000 each, a handcast medallion, pin and framed citation. Recipients are Albertans who have made a significant contribution to the arts in Alberta.

The weekend concludes with the Aboriginal Day activities on Sunday at Muskoseepi Park.

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