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2019 Arts awards show a rousing success

Last Updated Oct 23, 2019 at 6:04 pm MST

PHOTO. The 2019 award winners from the Arts Council Wood Buffalo Excellence In Arts Awards. Each winner received a beautifully hand-knit Amigurumi-style doll, crafted by local artist Sedef Uzer Prakash. Supplied by Arts Council Wood Buffalo.

Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) welcomed the region’s arts community and its many supporters to the Coffeehouse for the 2019 Excellence In Arts Awards.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, the Buffys celebrated the diversity and excellence Wood Buffalo artists, performers, and art groups have to offer.

“We are so pleased with this year’s awards.” Said Executive Director Liana Wheeldon. “The Buffys are an awareness program as much as they recognize the incredible impact the arts have in our community, and we’re proud to have showcased the variety of artists and creative professionals that live and work right here in Wood Buffalo.”

Wheeldon called this year’s awards presentation a rousing success.

PHOTO. Holly Snow & Dave Boutillier performing The Writer and the Muse written by Kevin Thornton. Supplied by Arts Council Wood Buffalo.


Organizers transformed the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts’ black box theatre into a 1950’s style club to host the evening’s before- and after-parties.

Meanwhile, guests watched the awards presentations and live performances of dance, comedy, spoken word, and music at the gym-turned “Coffeehouse”.

ACWB Program Manager, Diana Moser said organizing the Buffys each year is an artistic and inspiring experience.

“Learning about all the nominees, seeing the artists showcase their talents, and watching the delighted reactions of the audience makes the long hours of preparations all worthwhile.”

This year’s theme celebrated the “Beat Generation” with berets, turtlenecks, jazz music and culture, and laid back atmosphere.

PHOTO. Justin Shaw and Ron Kirsch during their preshow live performance. Supplied by Arts Council Wood Buffalo.

Award Winners

Each award recipient received an adorable handcrafted doll.

Local artist Sedef Uzer Prakash, who handknit the dolls, found inspiration in Amigurumi-style or small, handcrafted yarn creatures from Japan.

Nearly 70 nominees were in the running for these 14 beautiful dolls.

  • Arts Administration: Sheri Donovan
  • Arts Education: Kelli Stewart
  • Craft: Ashley Laurenson
  • Creative Collaboration: Simma Downe
  • Dance: Nikita Proulx
  • Indigenous Arts: Bernadette Dumais
  • Literary Arts: Theresa Wells
  • Media Arts: Steve Reeve
  • Ken Flaherty Music Award: Chris Pottie
  • Rising Star: Natalie Farahani
  • Theatre: Zachary Barrett
  • Visual Arts: Ruth Perry


Also receiving honours were Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Valerie Gondek, and Arts Champion Award recipient, Rick Kirschner.

A full list of winners and nominees is available on the Arts Council Wood Buffalo website.