Introducing Alberta’s Arts Ambassador 2023

Date: Apr 12, 2023

Introducing Alberta’s Arts Ambassador 2023

April 12, 2023 Media inquiries

Métis Cree artist Sharon Rose Kootenay has been selected as the fourth Artist in Residence and Arts Ambassador to promote the value of the arts in Alberta.

Hailing from central Alberta, the Treaty 6 artist is a lifelong maker of traditional art forms and finds her inspiration in the Prairie landscapes. Using geometric and floral beadwork design, Kootenay’s art tells a story of cultural identity and place, and affirms Indigenous world views, environmental stewardship and solidarity among humans.

Through her residency, Kootenay will create a two-part beadwork and mixed medium project titled Kihohkewin/Gone Visiting and Pihtikwe/Come In! The first part will interpret the highlights of travel, visiting with friends and family, picking up the threads of conversation and exploring traditions and landscapes along the way. The second part will encompass the Métis Cree concept of “Home Fire.”

“The arts enrich our lives and our vibrant culture and economy. I am pleased to announce Sharon Rose Kootenay as Alberta’s Artist in Residence. Sharon will enrich Alberta’s art scene through her talent and wisdom, as well as bring joy and inspiration to other artists and patrons of the arts. I also want to extend a sincere thank you and appreciation to Aeris Osborne, 2022 Artist in Residence and Ambassador. During her residency, Aeris created 10 bold impressionist paintings of historical buildings in cities and villages from across Alberta.”

Jason Luan, Minister of Culture

“As an artist of Métis Cree and Ukrainian ancestry, I am honoured and humbled to have been selected as the 2023 Alberta Artist in Residence and Arts Ambassador. Our lives are enriched by creative practice, and craft is a medium that articulates memories, celebrates relationships, and contains stories, hopes and wishes. I look forward to meeting many Albertans and gaining a deeper appreciation and understanding of the diversity of our shared artistic practices and expression of cultural perspectives.”

Sharon Rose Kootenay, Alberta’s Artist in Residence/Arts Ambassador

Alberta is the only jurisdiction in Canada to offer a provincial artist in residence program. This program seeks to inspire innovation in and increase appreciation of the arts and artists in Alberta. The residency comes with a $25,000 grant for artist compensation and up to $25,000 for artist expenses. Kootenay’s term began April 1 and runs to March 31, 2024. She was selected from a short list of seven applicants.

The short-listed artists received $1,000 grants to begin their projects and/or advance their artistic practices and careers. Short-listed artists for this intake are:

  • Lisa La Touche, dance, Calgary
  • Janita Frantsi, dance, Edmonton
  • Tia A Kushniruk, dance and theatre, Edmonton
  • Shumaila Hemani, music (soundscape composition), Calgary
  • Kelsey Merkeley, visual arts (fine craft), Calgary
  • Tara Vahab, visual arts (sculpture), Calgary

Host the Artist in Residence

As an arts ambassador and a voice for artists across the province, Kootenay will connect with Alberta communities through her project and program activities. Communities can invite the Artist in Residence to speak about the arts in Alberta at local or cultural events. An online application is available on the Artist in Residence web page.  

Quick facts

  • The maximum grant for the artist in residence program is $50,000, one of the largest individual artist grants available in Alberta.
  • According to analysis by Hill Strategies of the 2021 census, there were 18,100 artists living in Alberta (nine per cent of all artists in the country).
  • In 2020, the visual and applied arts and live performance industries contributed about $1.1 billion in gross domestic product and sustained nearly 15,000 jobs in Alberta.

Related information

Media inquiries

Jason Kwong

Acting Press Secretary, Ministry of Culture

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