AFA Commemorative Art Projects

Date: Jun 19, 2017

The 25th Anniversary Commemorative Art Projects were part of a one-time funding opportunity designed to create a legacy artwork, performance or composition that reflects the evolution of Alberta's arts community over the first 25 years of the AFA's existence.

The grant provided up to $25,000 in funding for to up to five projects to create, develop, and produce an original art project that related to the AFA 25th Anniversary theme: Alberta Inspires. Learn more about how we commemorated the AFA's 25th Anniversary.

Of the 35 eligible applications, our expert panels selected the following five projects to receive funding:

The Art of Hide Tanning

Artists involved: featuring new works by Amy Malbeuf and Ruby Sweetman, led by Portage College.

Description: Hide tanning is the canvas that holds Alberta’s oldest art forms; inspired by the history of the Indigenous people of this province. Portage College is unique in Canada in teaching this skill, using the traditional process of tanning and incorporating the important associated cultural traditions, keeping this art form alive for current and future generations. This project will commission Alberta artists, utilizing the ancient art form of hide tanning to create artworks linking the past, present, and future of Indigenous artwork. The project will work with two artists, Amy Malbeuf and Ruby Sweetman, both of whom are graduates of the Native Arts and Culture program at Portage College in Lac La Biche and are now professional artists living and working in Alberta. Sweetman is also an Indigenous arts instructor at Portage College. The artists will work together to create home-tan moose and deer hides using the traditional thirteen step process taught at Portage College.

(L to R): Artists Ruby Sweetman, Amy Malbeuf


Artists involved: Peter Balkwill and the Czapno Ensemble, facilitated by Banff Centre and YMCA Camp Chief Hector.

Description: Iinisikimm is an immersive puppet-lantern performance that celebrates the reintegration of bison into the natural ecosystem of Banff National Park. The project explores interdisciplinary performance techniques including lantern and puppetry, spoken-word, dance, and immersive and community-based performance. Audiences experience outdoor performances on a guided tour to different stations. The project is designed to build relationships and share the knowledge of emerging and established Albertan artists — both First Nations and non-First Nations people — together with the local community of Banff and the Bow Valley Corridor.

All the World’s a Stage

Artists involved: developed by Sandi Somers and Corey Lee, featuring Joyce Doolittle, Grant Reddick, John Murrell and Sharon Pollock.

Description:  All the World’s a Stage is a documentary portrait and homage to revolutionary Calgary theatre artists Joyce Doolittle, Grant Reddick, John Murrell, and Sharon Pollock who have laid the foundation for the renowned eclectic theatre scene that thrives in Alberta today. Through interviews, high-resolution projection, and intricate camera work, the filmmakers will present a textured portrait of these artists to peek behind the curtain to catch a glimpse into their soul and their creative process, and touch the bricks that have laid the foundation for their legacy in theatre.

(L to R): Artists John Murrell, Grant Reddick, Joyce Doolittle, Sharon Pollock

Place – Brian Webb Dance Company

Artists involved: featuring the work of Brian Webb, Kyle Armstrong and Mark Templeton.

Description:  The Brian Webb Dance Company (BWDC) will facilitate a new collaboration between dance artist Brian Webb, filmmaker Kyle Armstrong, and composer Mark Templeton. The work is about ‘PLACE’ – specifically, about the relationship to the Alberta Badlands near Drumheller where both Kyle and Brian grew up. It investigates the spiritual connection to the land that influences who we are today. The project will include integrating video and found soundscapes from the Drumheller area, with a contemporary dance performance to be produced as part of the BWDC 2017-18 season and a possible follow up tour to various dance festivals.

(L to R): Artists Brian Webb, Kyle Armstrong

Soundscape for Alex Janvier’s Sacred Mural

Artists involved: led by Peter J Poole, featuring the work of Alex Janvier and Elder Tom Crane Bear.

Description:  This project is a soundscape installation that will enhance the exhibition of Alex Janvier’s new sacred mural project. Alex’s work contains powerful messages about Alberta’s natural environment, our nation’s history, and the ongoing challenge of healing and reconciliation. The mural and soundscape will form a travelling installation, allowing people all over the province to engage with their own feelings through the art, and through the voices of Alex Janvier, Elder Tom Crane Bear, buffalo and birds.

Peter J Poole capturing nature sounds with his recording equipment

On June 20, 2017, we announced these successful projects at an event at the Alberta Federal Building in Edmonton, which was streamed live through the AFA Facebook page. Watch the video on Facebook.