YMM Arts community still strong after wildfire

Local talent comes together to express, heal

By Diana Moser, Arts Council Wood Buffalo

Left to right: Fort McMurray musicians Dan Tulk, Stu Marchand, Sh- antelle Davidson and Dave Martin at the CKUA Radio Network per- formance space in Edmonton on May 13. Photo by Arts Council Wood Buffalo.

Left to right: Fort McMurray musicians Dan Tulk, Stu Marchand, Shantelle Davidson and Dave Martin at the CKUA Radio Network performance space in Edmonton on May 13. Photo by Arts Council Wood Buffalo.

Although the wildfires in Fort McMurray have resulted in a displaced Wood Buffalo arts community, local artists continue to represent our region throughout Alberta.

Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) has been back to work for a few weeks now, and continues to share information, resources, and expertise with, and about, our arts community. ACWB has set up a temporary office space in Edmonton thanks to a generous offer of space by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. ACWB contact information can be found at www.artscouncilwb.ca.

Here’s a look at what the Wood Buffalo arts community has been up to in May:
On May 2, the Alberta Drama Festival Association (ADFA) North Zone Regional One Act Play Festival showcased four locally crafted plays at the Keyano Recital Theatre. Although Fort McMurray was meant to host the ADFA Provincial One Act Play Festival from May 27 to May 28, Grande Prairie has generously taken over the event. The winner of Outstanding Production at the North Zone regional festival, “Check Please”, will still represent Fort McMurray at provincials.

“Nerdvana the Series” and “Rig Pigs” are two Fort McMurray-focused web series that campaigned for funding from STORYHIVE, a community-powered funding program supported by TELUS. On May 4, the creators of both web series learned that they had received STORYHIVE funding to complete their work and will have access to production funding, training, mentorship, and distribution on TELUS Optik TV on Demand. Keep up-to-date with “Nerdvana the Series” and “Rig Pigs” on Facebook.

A Little Cabaret is a locally-made documentary about community theatre in Fort McMurray. Producers Steph Link and Tito Guillen followed Keyano Theatre Company (KTC) through the auditions, rehearsals, and performances of the musical Cabaret during the 2014-15 season. The documentary was honoured as a nominee at the 2016 Alberta Film & Television Awards (The Rosies) in Calgary on May 7, in the Best Documentary Category (Over 30 Minutes). A Little Cabaret is now available to rent online through Vimeo and all proceeds with go to the Red Cross Fort McMurray Fire Fund.

Earlier this month, Fort McMurray artist Russell Thomas painted a portrait of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Regional Fire Chief Darby Allen in his signature “wild colour” style. This piece pays tribute to Allen, the firefighters, and other emergency services personnel who helped evacuate the residents of Fort McMurray safely and who continued to protect the city itself. Prints of the painting are available for purchase and proceeds will be donated to the United Way of Fort McMurray to aid in the rebuilding effort.

The YMM music scene certainly hasn’t faded. Dave Martin, Shantelle Davidson, Dan Tulk and Stu Marchand performed songs from their latest releases and shared stories of their experiences at a special performance of Fort McMurray musicians on May 13 at the CKUA Radio Network performance space in Edmonton. Tulk and DJ Q-Pid also entertained Fort McMurray evacuees waiting to pick up emergency debit cards at the NAIT campus earlier this month.

To keep up to date on your favourite Wood Buffalo artists, check out Arts Council Wood Buffalo on Facebook and Twitter.

–  Article as shown in Connect’s Special Edition – First Issue After the Wildfire – Released May 28, 2016 –

-Connect Weekly-