2018 – The Year of Creativity!

Written by Liana Wheeldon, Executive Director of Arts Council Wood Buffalo

Photography credit – Fantastic Mr. Fox – Provided by Theatre; Just Because, Photograph by Thorne-Carpentier Photography


As December 31 approaches, our minds turn to all the possibilities that a new year brings. What better time for dreaming and planning than December, when the skies are dark early, the weather is cold, and the indoors are cozy. A new year heralds a new ‘you’, with resolutions and promises swirling about. When planning your resolutions for 2018, why not consider a more ‘creative you’?

Being creative isn’t only for artists. Working art into your daily routine can also help in the workplace. Aside from gaining new conversation points to wow your co-workers with, being creative helps people to think outside of the box, find different solutions, and give people a new perspective on problem solving. A 2016 article in Forbes, “The Impact of Art In The Workplace”, cites a U.S. survey that found art in the workplace helps businesses address key challenges such as reducing stress (78% agree), increasing creativity (64% agree), and encourages expression of opinions (77% agree).

Artists are often generalized as being introverted, solitary, quiet types, busy contemplating the universe and its myriad of possibilities. While this may be the case for some, others will tell you that banging out your favourite tune on a drum kit, or splattering paint, or learning to dance can also be a stress-relieving workout. More comfortable trying a quieter approach? Nothing clears the mind like putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, or voice to recording device, and organizing one’s thoughts and words into a literary work. 2018 may be the year for you to participate in Words in Motion, or submit your written efforts to NorthWord, our locally produced literary journal of Canada’s North.

We have many great resources here in our community for exploring something new and creative: the MacDonald Island Art & Culture department, Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, The Yarn Barn at Points North Gallery, Paint Nights, Salsa Dancing Club, Theatre; Just Because programming, and so many more. Are you a musician? Open mic night at the Tavern on Main is a great way to get in front of a supportive crowd.

Already an artist? Try a new artistic discipline, a different technique, or a new artistic form all together, and grow more diverse as an artist. Visit the many arts specific stores to get educated on the latest equipment and techniques. Our local stores have knowledgeable staff who are artists themselves and love sharing their passion with the community. Some of our local arts based businesses include: Photomagic Fotosource, Campbell’s Music, Spotlight Performance Wear, Weebounce Arts Supplies in The Art Foundry at River Station, Kathy’s Fiber Arts, and more!

Not ready to commit to trying out an artistic discipline? You don’t have to dive right into classes and workshops, you can also tap into your inner creativity by checking out a local theatre production, visiting a gallery opening and talking to the artist(s) about their creative process, or seek out live music and meet the artist(s) and behind the scenes production crews. Looking for things to do around Fort McMurray? Check out Arts Council Wood Buffalo’s online calendar for events, workshops, classes and more!

ACWB is steered by a volunteer board of eleven community members representing the different art disciplines, as well as the community, Métis, First Nations, business, industry, and social profit sectors. Three Arts Council staff dedicate their time to creating programs that give our regional artists and arts organizations the skills they need to thrive locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally. We also partner with different local organizations to add art into the community: the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association’s Empty Bowls Festival, the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games, and the RMWB Urban Market, just to name a few.

If you would like to connect with our local arts community, or learn more about Arts Council Wood Buffalo programs and services, visit: www.artscouncilwb.ca.

Happy New Year and welcome 2018!


*This post appeared in the Friday, December 22, 2017 print version of the Fort McMurray Today