Movers and shakers of the arts scene receive Edmonton Artists' Trust Fund Awards

By Fawnda Mithrush

Fifteen thousand dollars doesn't come along every day for an artist to just be an artist — funding usually arrives for a specific project after many hours spent writing grant applications and justifying wages within tight budgets.

But, for the 20 recipients of the Edmonton Artists' Trust Fund, each $15K award is meant to "provide financial stability for artists to renew, develop, create or experiment." Mainly, to focus on their art. 

"We are delighted to celebrate 20 remarkable local artists that call the Edmonton region home” said Sanjay Shahani, executive director of the Edmonton Arts Council, which administers the fund, held by Edmonton Community Foundation. “These artists excel in their disciplines and are constantly working to broaden and promote the Edmonton arts community. The recipients help make Edmonton a vibrant and engaging city, alive with arts and culture.”

Singer-songwriter Celeigh Cardinal is among the recipients of the 2020 Edmonton Artists' Trust Fund. ( Kemshead Photography)

Singer-songwriter Celeigh Cardinal is among the recipients of the 2020 Edmonton Artists' Trust Fund. ( Kemshead Photography)

The recipients range broadly in artistic practice, career stage, and backgrounds, from multidisciplinary theatre practitioners to installation artists and spoken-word poets. There's a DJ on the list, too.

To name just a few: 

  • Former poet laureate Ahmed Ali, a.k.a. Knowmadic
  • Fiber artist Andrea Bellegarde-Courchene from Little Black Bear First Nation
  •  Multi-award-winning Métis singer-songwriter Celeigh Cardinal
  • Anishinaabe playwright, theatre artist, and educator Josh Languedoc
  • Costume designer, actor, and improviser Leona Brausen 
  • Matthew Stepanic of Glass Buffalo and Glass Bookshop fame
  • Matthew Wood (a.k.a Creeasian), who does pretty much everything where it comes to bridging hip-hop and Indigenous culture, and also tours as a dancer with A Tribe Called Red
  • Megan Dart, playwright and co-artistic producer of Catch the Keys Productions, best known for site-specific, immersive theatre works
  • Founder of the Indian Music Academy and is Director of the Indian Music Ensemble  at the University of Alberta, Sharmila Mathur
  • Filmmaker, photographer, and former poet laureate of St. Albert, Zach Polis

Check out the full recipient list.  

The Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund (EATF) has grown since 2001 to grant $120,000 annually. And, pandemic bonus: last fall an anonymous, private donation of $100,000 was received to invest directly in artists though the EATF, making last year's recipient list longer than its usual annual of ten. That's a nice way to wrap up the dumpster fire of 2020, isn't it?