Hatters perform pas de deux, Airdrie.

Art’s BIG Night

2017 AMNAs put the spotlight on talent and passion

The third annual TD Airdrie Mayor’s Night of the Arts, held Jan. 28, was a landmark night for the arts in Airdrie with more than 230 people crowding into Bert Church Theatre to celebrate the arts and culture community. The show featured live performances in folk, pop-opera, lyrical ballet and country. A first for the awards, the show was live-streamed and then edited for broadcast on Shaw TV Channel 10.

Mayor Peter Brown said it best: “The arts are alive and well in Airdrie.”

Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts

The lively reception before and after the show included complimentary prosecco, Hayloft bites and the always anticipated Avenue Cakery Dessert Bar.

The excited crowd noshed on hors d’oeuvres and prosecco before the show, and gourmet desserts afterward. Circulating the upbeat lobby were models of the internationally renowned MakeFashion designs that fused art and technology, and guests enjoyed paparazzi photos in front of a living art installation.

Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts

Art Bergmann brought 40 years of music to the stage.



Highlights of the evening’s live show included a pas de deux by former Alberta Ballet dancers Yukichi Hattori and Galien Johnston Hattori and performances by Art Bergmann, Mark Lorenz and the Cowtown Opera. The George Mac Jazz Band, under the direction of Jordan Harris, performed house band duties, adding plenty of energy to the awards portion of the evening.

Awards were presented in six categories. Artists were recognized for their work in visual, film and textile mediums. They each received a custom-made sculpture by Airdrie artist Kirk Dunkley.

Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts

(L to R) Dr. Daniel Doz of ACAD with Mitchell George, ACAD Emerging Artist recipient, and Mayor Peter Brown.

All of the recipients were visibly moved by the attention. Filmmaker Mitchell George, winner of the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD} Emerging Artist Award, said: “Winning this award feels amazing. It’s very scary to stand up there, but a lot of hard work came into this and I’m taking this award for my crew and the people responsible for making the projects we have.”

Lynn Dalcin, a music teacher for 25 years, said on receiving the first JoRo Manufacturing Arts Educator Award: “I honestly don’t feel like I could explain how much it means to me. Children need arts in their life and that’s why I’m absolutely passionate about it.”

Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts

(L to R) Andy Morrell of McKee Homes with Erin Brekke Conn, McKee Professional Artist recipient, and Mayor Peter Brown.

McKee Professional Artist recipient Erin Brekke Conn (featured on the spring 2016 airdrielife cover) was overwhelmed by the honour. “I am completely surprised and so humbled and grateful,” she said. “Making good work that I’m really proud of is so important to me. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality, so I’m so thankful for this award.”

“I actually was shaking a lot. I didn’t think I was going to win because there were so many other good folks in that nomination category,” said Deanna Hunter, recipient of the Vitreous Glass Champion of the Arts Award. Hunter is chair of the Creative Airdrie Society. “It is an honour because there are so many people that put in lots of time and energy and I’m just one of the many.”

Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts

(L to R) Claudio Palumbo of Qualico Communities with Katherine Funk, Qualico Youth Artist recipient, and Mayor Peter Brown.

Qualico Youth Artist Award recipient Katherine Funk credited her mom Veronica Funk (the 2015 Professional Artist recipient). “My mom is an artist so she always had all the material in our house, so I was able to just experiment and see what I was interested in,” said Katherine. “I don’t know if I would even be an artist if I hadn’t grown up in this house.”

airdrielife was also a recipient. Publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt accepted the Davis Chevrolet Patron of the Arts Award. “Art and culture are what give a community its soul,” she said. “And to be honest, I love filling the pages of the magazine with colourful stories about artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers – it just shows how diverse and talented this city is.”

The nominees were adjudicated by out-of-market jurors from across the arts spectrum.

ACAD president Daniel Doz said the college is always looking to help nurture new artists, and is pleased to be a part of the event.

Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts

A live painting by 2016 Professional Artist recipient Michelle Wiebe, which started on stage to the music of violinist and 2016 Youth Artist recipient Talia Beckie, was completed during the evening and auctioned off, raising $2,000 toward the 2018 event planning.

He said art has an amazing ability of bringing people together, and letting artists know they are appreciated is vital to their success.

“We live in a world where we don’t say thank you enough,” said Doz. “I think it’s about recognizing that your work as an artist really has some merit and forces us to think – then there’s the bonus that somebody gets an award.”

He added that at the end of the day, it is art that defines us.

“I feel we measure true progress of society more through the arts than anything else. It becomes markers of our time. It becomes the reflection of who we are.”

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