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Band cancelling tour dates in Red Deer and two other communities after supporting protests in BC

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Small Town Artillery is springing into the national spotlight, but not for it’s “horn-powered riff wagon riding” sound.  Back in mid February the band offered a contest on it’s Facebook page, giving away 50 tickets for an upcoming show to “Indigenous Land Defenders & Allies”.  That post caught the attention of people in communities the band had booked on it’s upcoming national tour.   This has lead to a huge online backlash against the band by people concerned the band opposes the oil and gas industry and by extension people who work in these industries.  So far three dates have been cancelled including their show at The Vat in Red Deer.

In the ensuing days the band has responded to the backlash with a couple of well written and passionate posts attempting to further explain their stance.  The posts from the group’s Facebook page respond to their first cancelled show in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.  The second is in response to two more cancelations including Cold Lake and Red Deer.  Here they are:

Posted March 4:

Tom here. I’d like to take a moment to address something.

This band has been an advocate for the move towards renewable energy & continues to try our best to put First Nations rights in front of our audiences. We have written songs about our discontent surrounding these issues. However, we hold no malice towards those working in the Energy sector, or their families – there is nothing more universal than providing for the ones you love, and supporting your family and community. These are the values we hold closest. The feeling of being good at something, using your skills to support yourself & those dear to you – that is something I understand deeply. If there were a movement against touring bands, the thing I have lashed my hopes & dreams & identity to, I would feel attacked no doubt.

We were booked to perform at the Norman Ritchie Community Centre in Kindersley, Saskatchewan as part of our upcoming tour. After seeing some of our videos, the NRCC reached out to me with concerns about our stance on the oil & gas industry, feeling it would harm attendance. They asked if we could keep the politics out of the show, and focus on the music. I was happy to oblige this. A few weeks ago, we decided to go ahead.

In the last 48 hours, we have received messages from some folks, expressing their discontent with the band & our message. I believe they feel that their very livelihood is under fire by some of the messages our band has. This snowballed into a groundswell of resistance to our show, and targeted the community group bringing us in as well. It got to the point where there were threats to cut off the gas to the building during our show, and “run us out of town”. The Mayor of Kindersley stepped in and advised the venue to cancel the show. After discussing with the NRCC at length, we all decided it was in everyone’s best interests to do just that. So we will no longer be playing in Kindersley on April 9th.

Our intention with our music is not to personally attack hard-working Canadians. It is to keep the conversation moving forward with an open mind. We burn fossil fuel, we participate in capitalism, we have great privilege to be able to do what we do.

Our aim is to work toward what we believe to be a better earth in the future, though it will take time. Our goal with this post is not to back down from these views, but to let you know that we tour with open hearts and it is only through conversation that we can make steps in this direction. I cannot claim to know the whole story, and my hope with this tour is to get to speak with & play for people with many different points of view & ways of life.

We are disappointed that we won’t be coming to Kindersley to play this time around, and that we are letting down the fans in Kindersley who responded so positively. We’d also like to credit the NRCC for being diplomatic and reasonable in all of their dealings with us, and know this doesn’t reflect the whole town.

We come with open arms, and we come to play.

Thank you
Tom & BAND.

 

Posted March 7:

Hello! We are posting to address the national media attention our band has garnered over the past few days. Due to the online actions of a few individuals, controversy over our national tour has led to 3 shows being cancelled: Kindersley (SK), Cold Lake and Red Deer (AB). It stems from differing opinions surrounding the move toward more renewable energy sources and our views on the matter, which have been skewed to say that we are against people who work in the oil and gas industry. We are not. As we’ve repeatedly stated, our band is about music & community first, though we do not shy away from conversations about such topics, especially with those of differing opinions. We are not on tour with a political agenda, we write songs about issues we care about.

The majority of the backlash stems from our decision to support the protests in BC. We did this because they were focused on Indigenous land rights, and challenging the system to take a different approach toward reconciliation.

In the last week, we have learned so much about people who work in the oil & gas industry and how they also feel threatened by the changes we are all struggling to understand. I called Rod Perkins, the Mayor of Kindersley, and we had a good talk. He opened my eyes to the challenges people in his jurisdiction are facing, and it brought home the point that there are so many nuances to every story, this one included.

We have spent our career listening to & trying to amplify voices that need it. We believe this is the duty of an artist, to recognize and address social issues. Art is a commentary on the world around you at any given time, with the information you have at hand. We will continue to hold our heads high and do our best to navigate this – music is meant to unite, not divide.

Respectfully,
Tom
STA

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta’s Distinguished Artist Award Recipients Announced

Published on

June 16, 2021

Alberta’s Distinguished Artist Award Recipients Announced

(Calgary, AB) The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation is pleased to announce that artist Faye HeavyShield (Blood Reserve, Kainaiwa Nation, AB), writer and filmmaker Cheryl Foggo (Calgary, AB), and dance choreographer Vicki Adams Willis (Calgary, AB), have been selected to receive the 2021 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award.

Arlene Strom, chair of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation said, “Albertans can be proud of these three whose contributions have pushed the boundaries of art to reflect Indigenous identity and expression; present a more inclusive and diverse view of Alberta’s history; and define the province as a beacon for jazz dance artists. Each has contributed immeasurably to the development of the province’s artists, arts communities and expanding art disciplines.”

Faye HeavyShield, Visual Arts

Faye Heavyshield

Over the past 30 years, Faye HeavyShield has been one of Canada’s pre- eminent artists within Alberta and the Blackfoot Confederacy. Currently living on the Blood Reserve in southwestern Alberta, Faye studied at Alberta University for the Arts in Calgary.

Honouring her Kainaiwa (Blood) Nation, the striking landscape they dwell within and the Blackfoot language which she speaks, Faye HeavyShield’s legacy of three-dimensional art and sculpture including recent installations incorporating photography and delicately constructed paper figures make her a senior figure in the artistic and cultural renaissance of Indigenous nations in the country.

“…My art is a reflection of my environment and personal history as lived in the physical geography of southern Alberta with its prairie grass, river coulees, and wind and an upbringing in the Kainaiwa community. I would say the environment is an extension of myself because it’s always been there, from the time I was a child. It was one of the first things that I saw and smelled. I consider it a part of me. The landscape is an extension of the body because we’re dependent on it, and to flip that, the landscape is dependent on us…” Faye Heavyshield

Beyond her personal practice, Faye is actively involved with her community by working with youth through art programming and creating cultural connections for children in care.

Cheryl Foggo, Playwright, screenwriter, film maker, author

Cheryl Foggo

Creating a more inclusive and diverse view of Alberta’s history through her plays, films, books, articles and multi-media presentations has been Cheryl Foggo’s life work. Profiled in Who’s Who in Black Canada and the recipient of the 2008 national Harry Jerome Award for The Arts, Foggo has applied her talent as a researcher and writer to uncovering the compelling but overlooked stories of Alberta’s Black settlers and

cowboys. Most recently, the award winning National Film Board feature- length documentary, John Ware Reclaimed (2020), highlighted an earlier thriving Black community in the province often left out of the history books.

Her seminal, autobiographical book, Pourin’ Down Rain: A Black Woman Claims Her Place In The Canadian West, is a powerful narrative of Foggo’s ancestors’ journey from enslavement in the United States to Western Canada. The book, first published in 1990, received the distinction of a special 30th anniversary reprint in 2020. Her books for young people: Dear Baobab, I Have Been in Danger and One Thing That’s True have garnered many commendations between them, including One Thing That’s True being short-listed for the Governor General’s Award. In addition to her books, Cheryl Foggo has published prose in more than 40 journals and anthologies.

Two new productions of Foggo‘s plays are scheduled in 2021 with the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and the Urgency Collective in Calgary, and her short play The Sender is currently available through Toronto’s Obsidian Company’s 21 Black Futures Project. As a cultural activist, mentor and volunteer she advocates for writers and Black artists.

Vicki Adams Willis Performing Arts: Dance

Vicki Adams Willis

Vicki Adams Willis has changed the face of jazz dance in Alberta and Canada. A co-founder nearly 40 years ago of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD), she is foremost a teacher and choreographer of more than 35 original productions. She is recognized as a true leader in the world of jazz; an acclaimed ground-breaking choreographer who created one of the most unique jazz dance companies in the world, and the key person to ensure Calgary, Alberta as a viable dance centre for serious jazz artists. She has helped to change the very course of the jazz dance art form by influencing students, dancers, musicians and audiences with her strongly researched and brilliantly creative work.

Jazz dance is a misunderstood art form. Born of African parents and of the Black American experience, Vicki Adams Willis acknowledges herself as a guest in this form and has demonstrated her deep understanding of, and utter respect for, the authentic roots and history of jazz through her research, teaching and choreography. The company she co-created in 1984 – Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) has gained international recognition. It has been referenced in articles, dissertations, anthologies and, most recently, in an award-winning international film: Uprooted–The Journey of Jazz Dance, which had its Canadian premiere at the 2021 Toronto Black Film Festival.

“..These three ground-breaking women have offered important contributions to the arts in Canada. Their creativity has brought new light to their respective disciplines and created countless opportunities for us all to learn, grow and explore fresh ideas. Artists like this are essential to the vibrancy of our communities and we are truly fortunate to have them as cultural leaders in our province and country as a whole…”

Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

The laureates will each receive a handcrafted medal, a $30,000 award and a two-week residency at the Banff Centre’s Leighton Artist Studios. The awards patron, the Honourable Salma Lakhani Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, will present the awards at a celebration hosted by the Community of Lac La Biche and Portage College, Lac La Biche campus, at an awards event June 10 and 11, 2022.

The awards are funded through an endowment established with private donations and gifts from the Province of Alberta and Government of Canada. The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta serves as honorary patron of the awards. Since its inception, 23 Distinguished Artists and 63 Emerging Artists have been recognized across Alberta with this significant honour. See details at artsawards.ca

The 2021 Distinguished Artists were chosen from nominations received and reviewed by a jury of experts overseen by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Jurors for the 2021 Distinguished Artist Awards were Mary-Beth Laviolette, visual arts curator and author; John Estacio, 2017 Distinguished Artist and JUNO nominated composer; Seika Boye, scholar, writer, artist and Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies; Jordan Abel, Nisga’a writer from Vancouver and Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta teaching Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing.

Click to learn more about the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation.

Read more on Todayville.com.

 

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Alberta

DISTINGUISHED & EMERGING ARTIST AWARDS JUNE 2022

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Lac La Biche County and Portage College have been making plans for a community celebration to honour three new 2021 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artists. Given the ongoing COVID-19 related challenges of convening in person, Portage College, Lac La Biche County, and the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation have moved the celebration to June 11, 2022.

This change has provided a new opportunity: for the first time in the Awards’ history, the host community of Lac La Biche County will celebrate both the 2021 Distinguished Artists and up to 10 new 2022 Emerging Artists.

Her Honour Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, says she is looking forward to honouring the Distinguished and Emerging Artists next summer in Lac La Biche.

“I appreciate the tremendous work that the community has already invested into this special celebration, and I know that the 2022 awards will be well worth the wait. In the meantime, I offer my heartfelt thanks to all of the artists, administrators and patrons across Alberta for everything that you are doing to keep the arts a vibrant part of our lives and our communities during this extraordinary time.”

The organizers look forward to hosting this prestigious event and showcasing Alberta’s diverse arts scene. Their June 2022 plans include opportunities to chat with artists, outdoor community celebrations featuring an Art Walk and Market, art classes and demonstrations, an artist retreat, and a celebratory awards gala.

Click to learn more about the Foundation.

 

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