Awareness and Connection

Awareness and Connection

Through our website; our newsletter, including the popular Classifieds section and our Storytelling Project; our social media platforms: Facebook, CADA Twitter, yycwhatson Twitter, Instagram; our online community directories; and our events, we strive to be an information hub for the arts in Calgary.


COVID-19 meant that our own in-person events, such as The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions and the Report to Community, were held online. The Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions took place online in June 2021 with more than 300 guests registered for the event. A highlight of the annual event is the announcement of the Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards.

The event included a welcome song by Elders Raymond and Greta Many Bears, commentary by Patti Pon, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, and host Dave Kelly, as well as a few video presentations representing a small sampling of how adaptable the arts sector has been during COVID-19.


Recipients of the 2021 Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards were also announced by video featuring interviews with award-winners and sponsors. Each Legacy Award winner received a $5,000 cash prize funded by a contribution from a local philanthropist or organization with equal matching money from a legacy fund of Calgary 2012. Recipients are selected by a jury of peers.


In 2021, 61 outstanding artists and organizations were nominated, representing some of the artistry that vitalizes our city every day.


Recipients of the 2021 Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards:


The ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award was established to recognize artists whose artistic practices encompass health and wellness to improve the wellbeing of individuals, groups, or communities. The award is intended to promote the healing nature of the arts and its critical role as a means of expression for those facing physical or mental health issues.


Recipient: Heather Morigeau

Heather Morigeau demonstrates how arts can empower multiple forms of healing; be it cultural healing, addiction recovery, or living with mental health challenges.


The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award recognizes that artists from all parts of the world enrich Calgary’s arts sector. The award provides new Canadian artists with access to the institutions and support networks available to most Calgary artists.


Recipient: Perpetual Atife

Nigeria-born, saxophonist, songwriter, arts manager, culture enthusiast, and aspiring producer; Perpie is constantly carving expressive means to weave pieces of her life’s experiences and dreams, into an open box of treasure — music.


The Mamdani Arts Leadership Award recognizes and rewards the integral role of board members who lend their expertise, talent, and time to support the work of arts organizations and festivals that make Calgary a vibrant and creative city.


Recipient: Arif Ansari

Arif Ansari is the president of the Sled Island Board of Directors. His leadership and dedication have been key to moving the organization forward in recent years and are a testament to his passion for the local arts community.


The RBC Emerging Artist Award was established to recognize up-and-coming, Calgary-based artists. The award recognizes that a thriving cultural community includes artists who choose to live and build their careers in Calgary from the onset.


Recipient: Tank Standing Buffalo

Through talent and hard work, this unconventional and marginalized artist has risen from difficult circumstances, creating opportunities to grow, create work, and succeed. Through his work and dedication, Tank Standing Buffalo has grown into one of Calgary’s most up-and-coming filmmakers.


The Rozsa Foundation Emerging Arts Administrator Award recognizes and encourages the role of professional arts managers and administrators who are dedicating their careers to promoting and supporting the work of Calgary’s artists and not-for-profit arts organizations.


Recipient: Bianca Miranda

Bianca Miranda is a passionate and skilled emerging arts administrator. Her dedication to social justice and the arts is vital to the betterment of our community.


The SANDSTONE City Builder Award recognizes artists and organizations that make Calgary a better place to live. These individuals are committed to enriching Calgary through an artistic practice or arts program driven by a social impact outcome.


Recipient: Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Loft 112

From its start in 2013 Loft 112, as the brainchild of Lisa Murphy-Lamb, is the vanguard for writers, artists, and neighbours to gather, exhibit, present, and create. Loft 112 is a creative hive where ideas are given space to develop, a place where unheard voices are given a platform and a place of collaboration.


The TD Indigenous Artist Award was established in 2020 by TD Bank Group in partnership with the Calgary Public Library’s residency program and aims to recognize the contribution of Indigenous artists, craftspeople, and Knowledge Keepers to Calgary. The award seeks to honour Indigenous cultures and to promote intercultural understanding, perspective-taking, and communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.


Recipient: Alberta Rose Williams

Often utilizing found or repurposed materials, Alberta Rose seeks to create work that speaks to broader audiences as well as reduce some of the waste prevalent in our society. She feels that this practice is inherent with Indigenous cultures of practicality or using materials to their full potential and acting as a steward of the land.


The Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award honours artists who are lauded for their work in the national and/or international arenas and who choose to make Calgary their home. Regardless of career length, these artists are acknowledged by their peers around the world for the calibre of their work and their contributions to the arts.


Recipient: Cheryl Foggo

Cheryl Foggo’s commitment to excellence in all her artistic activities has enabled her to generate a body of creative work, earning her respect and acclaim locally, nationally, and internationally.


Thank you to Calgary 2012, the Office of the Mayor, champion sponsor Calgary Foundation, and the cultural leaders whose generosity makes these awards possible: ATB Financial, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, the Rozsa Foundation, Riaz Mamdani, RBC, SANDSTONE, TD Bank Group, and Her Honour, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, CM, AOE, LLD and His Honour, Honorary Colonel Douglas Mitchell, CM, AOE, QC, LLD.


We thank the Central Public Library, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Rozsa Foundation for their support through artist residencies and courses for the New Canadian Artist, the Doug & Lois Mitchell Outstanding Artist, and the Emerging Arts Administrator.


Our appreciation also goes out to the Arts Patron event sponsors: Aspen Properties, Brookfield Residential, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Calgary Foundation, DIALOG, Platform Calgary, University of Calgary, and our media partners Nur Films and Kelly Brothers.


Calgary’s Poet Laureate

Natalie Meisner was selected as the fifth Poet Laureate from 2020-2022, her time taking place entirely during the pandemic. Meisner’s poetry demonstrates the healing power of the arts and is steeped in empathy and caring. Her legacy project is called This Might Help — an online home for recorded audio poems written by and for Calgarians and the world, addressing the challenges facing us right now as a society. It is a public art project with a mandate to put poetry in the hands of everyone. Visit here to find out more or to listen to the audio poems. Calgary Arts Development also featured one of Natalie’s pieces called The Poem Wants as our holiday greeting at the end of 2021. You can see a video of this poem here.