Announcing ‘The Buffys’

Art council call out for new award program

By Hanna Fridhed, Connect Contributor 

Hanna - Art submission

A file photo of ‘Inside the Artists’ Studio’ community engagement workshop ACWB hosted in partnership with the Wood Buffalo Artist in Residency program in July 2015. Photo by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Since being established back in 2012, the Arts Council of Wood Buffalo (ACWB) have kept extremely busy. The ACWB is a social profit organization that champions investment in the arts in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

They work to raise the profile of the arts in our region and to provide support to the art community, spanning from workshops, collaborations and an artist directory, among many other things.

One such thing is the launch of the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards to be held on October 22. The awards – also called ‘The Buffys’ – aims to celebrate local artists and art supporters.

“The Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards is an important opportunity to recognize the achievements of those organizations and individuals who champion the arts in our region,” said Constance Scarlett, ACWB Executive Director. “Often our artists are recognized outside of our community, and the Arts Council really wanted to provide an opportunity to showcase the best of our arts sector within Wood Buffalo.”

‘The Buffys’ comprises of twelve different categories, which were created to showcase the unique features of the Wood Buffalo arts community; such as the strength of youth artists, the innovative collaborations often seen between the arts and other sectors in the community, and the deep Aboriginal traditions kept alive in the region. ‘The Buffys’ are purposefully created to ensure that the categories are broad enough to encompass all kinds of creative expression. The awards themselves will be designed and created by a local artist.

The theme for the awards ceremony – ‘The Midnight Circus’ – promises to provide a breathtaking back-drop for the evening’s entertainment.

“We wanted to create an awards ceremony like no other, one that really capitalized on the diversity of our artists in terms of performance styles and creative expression. We also wanted to make the whole event fun, spectacular, and unforgettable,” explains Diana Moser, ACWB Communications & Program Manager.

The Midnight Circus will be featuring a showcase of local artists. Scarlett said that “the Arts Showcase is an important piece of this program. It not only provides a paid opportunity for local artists, but it gives the wider community the opportunity to see some of region’s top artists right here in Fort McMurray.” Moser continues; “We want people to go away thinking: Wow, our arts community sure knows how to put on a show.”

Over the past year, the ACWB has grown substantially as an organization and have managed to keep the momentum going through the fire, evacuation as well as staffing changes.

“The future looks busy,” Moser exclaimed. “We will continue to focus on strengthening our support of the arts community through learning opportunities, capacity-building partnerships, and advocacy. The awards recognize and celebrate excellence in areas of the arts and build awareness of the incredible contribution artists make to the region” continued Moser.

“Artists are leaders not only in their discipline, but in the community they live and work in. Our region has several other awards programs that recognize the important work that leaders in various sectors do, and we felt it was necessary to say once again to artists themselves and to everyone else that the arts are valued and integral to a remarkable quality of life.”

Artists, arts educators, arts administrators, students, and other creative individuals can be nominated in 12 categories. Nominations will be accepted until September 16, 2016.

The call for award artists is currently out, it can be found on The awards will be unique to this year’s program.

– Connect Weekly –