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Paint the Town! – Brightening the Beltline with BUMP 2020


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If you’ve been out and about in downtown Calgary during the month of August, you may have noticed some changes being made to the buildings around the city. An unreal series of commissioned murals have been popping up all around Calgary for the past four weeks as a part of the fourth annual BUMP festival! 

Established in 2017 by the Beltline Neighborhoods Association, The Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP) focuses on giving artists the space to redesign and transform the city of Calgary into a living, life-sized art gallery. “We believe that art belongs in public and buildings make the best canvases.”
BUMP has grown and evolved significantly since its inception, according to Executive Director Dexter Bruneau, beginning with just 4 murals in 2017, this year’s project saw the creation of 20 new murals throughout the Beltline. “BUMP has now painted over 50 murals,” says Bruneau, “That’s over 50 walls in the Beltline that would have otherwise remained plain.” 

Due to the ongoing uncertainties of COVID-19, originally scheduled appearances from international artists have been postponed until 2021, and this year’s BUMP focused on featuring local artists from across Calgary and within Canada. 

Toner, a local graffiti and large-scale mural artist contributed to this year’s BUMP with a 1400 square foot mural, located at 1137 17 avenue SW. As his largest solo endeavor, the project took approximately 9 days to complete over the span of 2.5 weeks. The inspiration behind his piece draws from a combination of cultural and symbolic references, the current state of global affairs, and elements of his own subjective approach to art. 

“In the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui, the parrot is a powerful symbol of opportunity and a bearer of good news, it draws positive energy and keeps away the negative,” he says, “Birds represent freedom and long life, and specifically, the Macaw Parrot is a popular companion bird. It seems we could all use a companion right now.” 

The mural located at 1240 12 Ave SW was created by Elena Bushan, another local artist with more than 25 years as a painter. The inspiration for Elena’s mural, Mother Nature, came to her during the months of winter quarantine, where stress, anxiety and uncertainty were at an all time high. Finding peace in tending to her collection of houseplants, Elena created a portrait representative of her own emotional experience and relationship with nature itself, “Mother Nature gives me wings, no matter how stressed I am,” she says, “I hope others will look at it and feel uplifted as well.” 

The mural, which is more than 1000 square feet, took 16 days to complete, painting 10-12 hours a day. During her time on the wall, Elena was touched by the support and sense of community Calgarians displayed, “People were trying to take care of me the entire time,” she says, “making sure I was fed and had water during the long days.” 

Along with adding beautiful color and culture to the city of Calgary, BUMP focuses on building community by making art more accessible and available to the public. “There are often a lot of barriers in place for people to see and consume art,” says Bruneau, “We strongly believe in muralism as an art form because it provides a free, accessible, all-ages open air gallery for the entire city.” 

BUMP will return in August 2021 with a new lineup to continue with the diversification and decoration of the Calgary Beltline.

For more information on BUMP and the 2020 artist lineup, visit

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.


Alberta’s Distinguished Artist Award Recipients Announced

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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

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.



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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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