Tickets on sale for arts awards


Yesterday tickets went on sale for the prestigious 2011 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Awards to be held at St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre on Saturday, April 9.

Established in 2003 by the late Lt.-Gov. Lois Hole to celebrate excellence in the arts, the awards ceremony will be the crown jewel of the city’s three-day ArtiCulture Festival from April 7 to 9.

“The key is that St. Albert is celebrating its 150th anniversary and this is another avenue to do that,” said Mayor Nolan Crouse, one of the city’s biggest arts boosters. “It’s such a right blend of what Lois initiated — the 150th anniversary, our arts history and our cultural history.”

Although nominee names are being kept under wraps, it is known that two winners from across Alberta will receive $30,000 each, a medal and the possibility of residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Their names will be announced in March.

Lt.-Gov. Donald S. Ethell will present the awards. The elegant dinner ceremony also features performances from Firefly Theatre’s aerialists, the francophone quartet Allez Ouest, Cantilon Children’s Choir and the MĂ©tis Child and Family Jiggers.

Jim Hole spoke passionately about his mother’s love of the arts. “To some people the arts are pure entertainment. She saw the arts as a huge statement about society and how so many messages could be gotten out through the arts. She saw how it could change the way people saw the world.”

The awards ceremony’s traditional hosts will be Senator Tommy Banks and filmmaker Phil Fraser. “Tommy is a legend. He’s such a great spokesman and ambassador for the arts. Phil as well. They live and breathe the arts,” said Nancy Watt, a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Awards gala committee member.

Not only does this event spotlight the arts, but it is also mounted in a different Alberta city each time. So far the biennial event has been held in Banff, Lloydminster and Grande Prairie.

In 2009, the City of St. Albert’s Cultural Services department, working with Arts and Heritage and the arts’ guilds, submitted what Crouse called a “slam dunk” proposal to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation.

International Children’s Festival Nancy Abrahamson believes the application caught the foundation’s eye because fibre artist Kathy Pavelich quilted an Alan Nuttall design on the cover. “They talked about how original it was,” she said. “Many people also knew how special this event was and they made it happen.”

The total budgeted cost of the gala is $140,000. The city is contributing $61,000 and the remainder is covered through sponsorship and ticket sales.

Tickets are $125. Call 780-459-1542 or online at


About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.