From an inaugural Arts & LitFest to the perennial favourite “World Meets in Wood Buffalo,” our town is abuzz with free events highlighting culture, heritage, and diversity for the annual month-long Alberta Culture Days celebration.
Additionally, to highlight just a few of them, on the agenda are Indigenous, Ukrainian, Bengali, theatre, dance and musical events, a veritable feast of cultural and arts festivities. Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) applies for municipal and provincial funds for local Culture Days events annually. Akshaya Lakshmi, Communications Supervisor, ACWB explains more.
“Since 2020, we have distributed these funds among local arts and culture practitioners who aim to create free-to-attend events, activities, and programming for Alberta Culture Days. Arts Council acts as the fiscal agent, supporting as many events as possible, stewarding funds equitably and reporting back to funding agents.”
“As a non-profit organization, Arts Council is able to support arts and culture practitioners fiscally by applying for Culture Days funding for which they are otherwise ineligible. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) does not currently offer funding solutions for Alberta Culture Days programming as Alberta Culture Days is listed as an ineligible expense under the RMWB’s Arts, Culture & Heritage Grant. Our Alberta Culture Days Grant addresses this gap and hopes to continue to do so. This funding has been provided by the Government of Alberta and Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo,” continues Akshaya, who has been with the group for over a year.
In addition, the Government of Alberta has designated September as the Month of the Artist to align with Culture Days.
“Alberta is the first and remains the only province in Canada to dedicate a month to artists. It is an annual celebration of artists, and the value they bring to the province, both socially and economically. This year ACWB secured funds to support 11 different events as well as provided a platform for all other organizations and events to advertise. Arts Council Wood Buffalo will be recognizing Alberta Culture Days and Month of the Artist through social media: @artscouncilwb, as well as celebrating with an Arts Match happening on September 15, 2022 at Surekha’s on the Snye,” she adds.
Looping back to the inaugural Arts & Litfest, the much-anticipated two-day event will be hosted by the Wood Buffalo Regional Library on September 24 and 25 to celebrate the “literary and artistic scene in Fort McMurray.”
“We’re hosting this festival for a number of reasons: to highlight local artists’ talents, stories, and cultures, to provide a free space for young people to create and learn, and to simply find joy in the artistic diversity that our city has to offer! It is important to celebrate Alberta Culture Days because of the opportunity it brings to engage in exciting new cultural experiences. We hope that you will attend one of the events,” notes Sally Samuel, Community Engagement Coordinator, WBRL
Hanna Fridhed, well-known local theatre artist is excited for the many upcoming events hosted by her newly co-founded theatre company, Swamp Rat Experience, launched in 2021.
“As a new theatre company, participating in Alberta Culture Days gives us an opportunity to connect with the Wood Buffalo community and explore new kinds of events. This year, we are offering a wide variety of events including a musical comedy, a 24-hour theatre creation called Play in a Day, a staged reading of a play in development, as well as a full weekend of Indigenous theatre performances and workshops.”
“Thanks to the financial support by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Arts Council Wood Buffalo and the Alberta Government, we are able to offer programming that would otherwise be difficult to. During Culture Days, we can be very creative and think outside the box and continue to work to eliminate barriers for individuals to participate in our events,” says Hanna, who is also the Artistic Director for the group.
Last year, Culture Days was celebrated in over 500 communities in Alberta. National Culture Days will take place from September 23 to October 16.
For the full schedule and details on our local Alberta Culture Days events, visit https://artscouncilwb.ca/abcd/.
About the author
Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.