Community Call for ATCO Torch Relay Nominations

Deadline for Nominations: November 30, 2017, at 4:30 pm.

The 2018 Alberta Winter Games seeks relay team members for ATCO Torch Relay

Do you know a Wood Buffalo youth, aged 11-17, who embodies and demonstrates the Alberta Winter Games Spirit and dedication to sport, culture, and community?

The 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games Society seeks nominations for the 2018 Alberta Winter Games ATCO Torch Relay Team.

“The ATCO Torch Relay is a unique and honourable way to celebrate our region’s talented members. The ATCO Torch Relay marks the commencement of the games and celebrates Alberta’s youth coming together in friendship and excellence,” says Joanne Langevin, ATCO Torch Relay Chair – 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games Society. “We want the community to share with us information about our amazing local youth so we can highlight them to the entire province through participation on the Alberta Winter Games ATCO Torch Relay team.”

The ATCO Torch Relay takes place on Friday, February 16, 2018, in the heart of downtown Fort McMurray. The final leg of the relay is the ceremonial lighting of the cauldron during the 2018 Alberta Winter Games Opening Ceremonies sponsored by ATCO.

Torch Bearer Eligibility:

  • Between the age (s) 11-17.

  • Be able to complete (run/walk/wheel) assigned 200m distance.

  • Have a guardian who will accompany bearer during the ATCO Torch Relay and be responsible for transportation to and from Rehearsal day, ATCO Torch Relay, and Opening Ceremonies.

  • Be prepared to participate in a training session/rehearsal prior to the ATCO Torch Relay on Thursday, February 15.

  • Be prepared to participate in the Opening Ceremonies following the ATCO Torch Relay on Friday, February 16 at 7pm.

  • Sign the Participation waiver before or on the ATCO Torch Relay day.

  • Agree to have photo published by the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games, sponsors, or media for the purpose of promoting the Alberta Winter Games ATCO Torch Relay.

Deadline for Nominations: November 30, 2017, at 4:30 pm.

The public can nominate relay team members online:

The 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games take place February 16 – 19, 2018, and operate in partnership with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Alberta Sport Connection.

Full Guidelines and Release can be found HERE.

YVWB Poster - Launch

#YouthVoicesWB Campaign

#YouthVoicesWB Campaign by ResilienceByDesign Research Innocation Lab at Royal Roads University

As the school year starts, we wanted to share information about a youth-focused social media campaign we’ll be launching Sept 29-Oct. 27 that aims to understand, promote and celebrate youth ideas for local action. The #YouthVoicesWB campaign will be asking youth age 14-24: “What Would You Do to Make Your Community Better?” …and inviting them to creatively answer through videos, photos, songs, art, poetry, theatre, spoken word, dance, etc. (


As many of you know, the #YouthVoicesWB social media campaign emerged from conversations with youth, youth-serving organizations, governance bodies, schools and other community members about how to engage young people across the Wood Buffalo region. It is connected to the “Youth Voices Rising (YVR): Recovery & Resilience in Wood Buffalo” action research project being coordinated by the ResilienceByDesign Research Innovation Lab at Royal Roads University, and funded by the Canadian Red Cross.


YVR aims to explore and connect young people’s concerns and solutions to the long-term recovery and resilience efforts in the region through their active participation ( For instance, #YouthVoicesWB will launch during the RMWB Election period so we can link youth ideas to policymakers, and encourage older youth to vote. We’ve even recorded video interviews with the mayoral candidates about engaging youth and will share what they have to say to young people during the campaign.


In the region, #YouthVoicesWB is already underway. Over the summer, youth explored their communities with photography at the YMCA and youth centres in Fort McKay & Janvier; shared songs, poetry and prose at a McMurray Gospel Assembly talent show; and created art at the Justin Slade Youth Foundation. As well, youth are recording songs to answer the question with The Bridge (; and the Art Foundry at River Station is offering art nights to young people on the campaign theme. We hope to connect with many more youth too at an upcoming Rotary youth event and during Alberta Cultural Days (Youth can stop by the Art Foundry at River Station on Sept 30 to make media!). We’ve uploaded a few examples of youth media we’ll be posting to show you the breadth of creativity and topics being raised by young people in the campaign –


We wanted to share this information with you so you can join in! There are multiple ways to do this:

  • You can follow #YouthVoicesWB on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter; and encourage the youth you work with to join in (links below).
  • You can support youth to create media for the campaign.
  • You can share organization posts during the campaign. (For example, we’ll be hosting Wellness Wednesdays to offer youth-friendly wellness advice and connection to local services. Feel free to link relevant youth info to #YouthVoicesWB between Sept 29-Oct 27 to cross-promote the campaign and relevant youth services/activities in Wood Buffalo.)
  • You can launch your own discussions & advocacy activities based on what young people are sharing in the campaign.


For #YouthVoicesWB, there are a few ways for young people to share their media. One way is for us to post their content. This can be done anonymously or with only their first name at The site is active now, and we’ll post their media between Sept 29-Oct 27. If they are under age 18, we’ll ask them for their parent/guardian details so we can contact them for permission to post the media as part of the YVR project. Once the campaign starts Sept 29, young people can also create and post media to their own social media accounts and link to the campaign at #YouthVoicesWB. In this case, since the post originates from their own social media account, they would not be able to be anonymous—so this is valuable for them to understand. Finally, organizations can also post youth media (with consent) and link it to the #YouthVoicesWB platforms.


As mentioned, the key aim for the #YouthVoicesWB campaign is not only to understand youth concerns, but also to connect them to them to people with can listen and respond. To support this—as part of our research—we’ll identify and share the key themes youth discuss during the campaign; and are promoting listening events next year where youth and key decision-makers can meet in person to talk about the most common concerns and ideas with an eye on responsive action.


As well, for sustainability, we’d love to hand off the #YouthVoicesWB social media platform to the WB youth community as an on-going social media hub for and influenced by youth. We’ve developed recommendations for how this could be done for potential funders, as well as the benefits. Through these efforts, our hope is that the campaign is just the start of actions that support wider youth engagement and influence in the RMWB region. We appreciate working with many of you on these efforts, and we look forward to seeing the young people’s great ideas become reality!
For connecting to the campaign, here are the links:


Fort McMurray Flea Market – Vendors Needed

Vendors needed for the Fort McMurray Flea Market!

This summer, the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo is introducing the new Fort McMurray Flea Market, an opportunity for vendors of used goods, owners of home-based businesses, sellers of vintage wares and creators of arts and crafts to connect with members of the community in a traditional flea market event.

The Fort McMurray Flea Market will take place on the second Saturday of each month, starting in June and ending in September. The dates are as follows:

Saturday, June 10 2017
Saturday, July 8 2017
Saturday, August 12 2017
Saturday September 9 2017

The Fort McMurray Flea Market will begin at 8:30 am and run until 1:00 pm and will take place outdoors, rain or shine, in the parking lot at MacDonald Island Park,

Vendors can register now! Visit their website at or contact


2016 Buffys, A Sold Out Success That Celebrated The Achievements Of The Arts Community

On October 22, Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) transformed the Suncor Energy Centre for Performing Arts into an extraordinary scene, created to amaze all the guests of the inaugural Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards. The sold out “Midnight Circus” themed awards showcase event treated guests to a breathtaking evening that included several high energy performances from a variety of disciplines, a visual arts display, a delectable assortment of carnival foods and for the main act, the presentation of 13 awards.

The Arts Awards, AKA the “Buffys”, were presented to 13 local artists who have shown outstanding achievement and accomplishment in the arts. Each award was hand crafted by local Aboriginal artist Kathleen Marsel. The 2016 award categories and winners are Arts Administration – Ana Maria Mendez; Arts Education – Marie Gazzard; Creative Collaboration – “Fanny & Manny Tie the Knot” dinner theatre by Theatre; Just Because and Waypoints; Dance – Kim Hurley; Fine Craft – Leo Parent; Literary Arts – Kevin Thornton; Media Arts – Sean McLennan; Music – Dan Gillies; Theatre – Michelle Thorne; Visual Arts – Carol Breen; Traditional Aboriginal Arts – Lily Marcel; Rising Star – Avery Rex; and Arts Champion – Loraine Humphrey. 12 of the categories were open to nominations from the community, while the Arts Champion recipient was chosen by the ACWB board of directors to acknowledge an individual, small business, corporation, social profit, or foundation which has strengthened arts and culture in Wood Buffalo through their support and commitment to the sector in the past year.

The focus of the Arts Awards event is to celebrate the achievements of local artists though an artist showcase and to place tangible value on the essential role the arts play in creating a balanced community. The showcase included a visual art display, live theatrical performances, film, instrumental music, song, poetry, duets, and collaborations from different performing arts disciplines. The audience was made up of members from all facets of the community, not just the arts.

Diana Moser, interim executive director, explains that “ACWB’s mandate is to champion investment in the arts in the region and the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards is designed to do exactly that. The Buffys provide artists with an opportunity to build their portfolios through the recognition gained as an award nominee and recipient, as well as by performing or exhibiting during the showcase event.” The Arts Awards is an annual program that will continue to recognize the achievement and accomplishments of the arts in the region year to year, invest in the future of the growing arts community, and allow artists to compete and thrive within the region and even beyond the borders of Wood Buffalo. “We look forward to the partnership opportunities and relationships we will continue to build to make the awards and the showcase event an on-going meaningful experience for our community,” says Moser.

ACWB thanks the 2016 Arts Awards sponsors, the team at SECPA, the event coordinators, various partners, all the artists, the volunteers, ACWB staff and board, and of course, the Wood Buffalo community.

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Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards nominations


Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) is pleased to announce the launch of the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards. This is an annual program that recognizes and celebrates excellence in various areas of the arts and builds awareness of the incredible contribution artists make to the region. Artists, arts educators, arts administrators, students, and other creative individuals can be nominated in 12 categories spanning a variety of disciplines. Nominations will be accepted August 16 – September 16, 2016.


“The Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards is an important opportunity to recognize the achievements of those organizations and individuals who champion the arts in our region,” says Constance Scarlett, ACWB Executive Director. “Often our artists are recognized outside of our community, and the Arts Council really wanted to provide an opportunity to showcase the best of our arts sector within Wood Buffalo.”


Starting August 16, nominations are open in the areas of Arts Administration, Arts Education, Creative Collaboration, Traditional Aboriginal Arts, Fine Craft, Media Arts, Music, Dance, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Literary Arts. The program also includes a category for artistic youth, aptly called Rising Star. Artists can nominate themselves, or have someone nominate them.


The Arts Awards, aka “The Buffys”, will be handed out during a showcase event on October 22, 2016. The focus of this event is to celebrate the achievements of our local artists through high energy, poignant performances that highlight all that our vibrant arts community has to offer. The theme for this year’s awards showcase is “The Midnight Circus”, which promises to provide a breathtaking back drop for the evening’s entertainment. Scarlett says that “the Arts Showcase is an important piece of this program. It not only provides a paid opportunity for local artists, but it gives the wider community the opportunity to see some of region’s top artists right here in Fort McMurray.” Tickets will be available for the public to come enjoy a night of entertainment and support the arts. “The Board of Directors was determined to make the event accessible to as many residents of Wood Buffalo as possible, which is why tickets are being sold for only $25,” states Scarlett. “This vision of a high-caliber local arts event for the entire community is only possible because of the tremendous support of our sponsors” she says, a group that includes Suncor, Don Scott McMurray Law Office, McMurray Métis, Balsom Communications, and Birdsong Connections.


The Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards invests in the future of our growing arts community. The recognition received by each award winner will raise their profile, build their portfolio, and allow them to compete and thrive as an artists within our community and beyond the borders of Wood Buffalo. Nomination application guidelines and forms can be found at


Theatre; Just Because 2016-17 season

All Theatre; Just Because programming is education-based, open to the community, and employs 100% local artists.

Jr. High Play Production Series (for any student enrolled in grades 7,8, or 9) – The Fantastic Mr. Fox 

This year we’re offering a brand-new Play Production Series of workshops for Fort McMurray youth! Join us to work on a production of The Fantastic Mr. Fox by David Wood & Roald Dahl and explore this story through many different avenues — music, movement, acting, and visual art!

Participants will play a role in the production, whether as an actor, assistant stage manager, or backstage support. No matter your role, this program will encourage team work, education, exploration, and professionalism.

Directed by Michelle Thorne and featuring workshops by local guest artists!
Registration opens September 1st at and visit for more information.


Play Reading Nights

Come out to read a role or to listen to the story unfold – your level of participation is completely up to you. These evenings are free to anyone attend (ages 16+), regardless of your level of experience or previous participation in our play readings.

Visit for more information and a full listing of dates.



Our workshops aim to give you the skills you need to excel at your theatrical art form. Whether you’re new to the scene or have dozens of shows under your belt, our focus is to lead you through something new and different – techniques and ideas to take with you to your next audition or project.

These are 3 hour intensive sessions lead by Theatre; Just Because artists and guest artists. Our workshops are open for anyone to register for(ages 16+), regardless of your level of experience. For more information and to sign up visit


Alberta Culture Days

Friday September 30, 2016

In partnership with The Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, and  RMWB we are thrilled to be showing The National Theatre Live’s presentation of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch. With bar services provided by The Jaguar Lounge and featuring a live Shakespearean introduction starring local actors, this is an event not to be missed. Tickets $20 | 18+ | DOORS OPEN 6PM PRE-SHOW 6:30PM SHOW 7PM


Saturday October 1

Come join Theatre; Just Because at The Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts as we celebrate Alberta Culture Days 2016 with a free workshop!

Have you ever wanted to perform on stage but get overwhelmed at the thought of having to audition?

Join local director and actor Michelle Thorne for this fun and interactive workshop for youth where will give you the knowledge, skills, and tools to eliminate the fear and help you conquer the auditioning process.

Register on line at


Sunday October 2

Come join Theatre; Just Because at The Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts as we celebrate Alberta Culture Days 2016 with a live reading of Joan MacLeod’s The Hope Slide.

Inspired by the infamous rock slide that buried part of the mining town of Frank, Alberta in 1903; The Hope Slide is an immersive portrait of one woman’s struggle to find meaning in the aftermath of the devastation following one of Alberta’s most notorious natural disasters.

Featuring a cast of local actors and directed by Michelle Thorne.

Sunday October 2 | 2pm | SECPA Theatre | FREE ADMISSION



Call for Board Members

Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB) is currently looking to fill five positions on its voluntary Board of Directors representing the following portfolios: Business / Industry, Community, Theatre*, Literary Arts, and First Nations. ACWB is a non-profit organization with a mandate to Champion Investment in the arts in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The Board is made up of eleven members from the Wood Buffalo region, representing different aspects of the arts and business sectors. The Board meets in-person once per month to set the policy and direction of the organization with the long-term vision that the arts are valued and integral to a remarkable quality of life.

– At least 18 years of age
– Resident of Wood Buffalo
– Must be committed to the principles, vision, and goals of ACWB
– A combination of education and experience in their respective area with an understanding and passion for the arts in Wood Buffalo.

All positions will be filled at the Arts Council Wood Buffalo Annual General Meeting on September 24, 2016.
For more information on Arts Council Wood Buffalo, visit If you have questions, please contact Constance Scarlett, Executive Director at or 587-674-1625 x.101.

To apply, please complete a Board Application Form and submit it to by Friday September 16, 2016.

*Please note: the Theatre position is currently held by an incumbent who was appointed by the Board of Directors to fill a vacancy over the past year. According to ACWB Bylaws, this position must now come to the membership for approval at the AGM and is therefore open for other candidates to put forward their names.

Call for Board Members (PDF)

AGM Notice

Save the Date – AGM & Member Mixer

Arts Council Wood Buffalo was forced to postpone its 2016 Annual General Meeting due to the wildfire evacuation earlier this spring. The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the AGM has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 24, 2016. Further details on a time and location will be available in the August newsletter and other member communications – so keep an eye on your inbox!

Urban market banner 2016

Revised 2016 Urban Market schedule

Potential Vendors & Community Groups

Thank you for your patience regarding the confirmation of the revised schedule for the 2016 Fort McMurray Urban Market.


2016 Urban Market Dates:

Wednesday, August 10th (11:00am – 6:00pm)

Wednesday, August 17th (4:00pm – 9:00pm)

Saturday, August 27th, (10:00am – 3:00pm)

Wednesday, August 31st (11:00am – 6:00pm)

Saturday, September 10th (10:00am – 3:00pm)

Wednesday, September 14th (11:00am – 6:00pm)

Wednesday, September 28th (11:00am – 6:00pm)


If you are interested in becoming a vendor please fill out the necessary forms and submit via email or in person.

Vendors are required to complete and submit the following:

1)      Vendor Application Form

2)      Vendor Rules and Regulations Form

3)      Vendor Waiver Indemnity Form

4)      Equipment Sponsorship Form (for local handcrafters only)

5)      Copy of your business insurance (unless purchasing from the Urban Market on a per market basis)


Community Groups please submit to following (we approve 2 community groups per market)

1)      Community Group Application Form

2)      Vendor Rules and Regulations Form

3)      Vendor Waiver Indemnity Form

4)      Copy of your business insurance (unless purchasing from the Urban Market on a per market basis)


Note: If you have already submitted your application for the 2016 Urban Market you are NOT required to submit a new application form – please confirm that you are still committed to attending or not.


To encourage participation and assist local businesses, LOCAL vendors will not be required to pay the daily stall fees ($35 plus GST). All vendors are still required to provide a copy of their insurance or purchase insurance from the market for ($23 plus GST) prior to the start of the market. Along with this, we will be continuing to offer the Equipment Sponsorship again this year to those who apply and are approved, which provides a local hand craft vendor a tent, weights and a table.


Thank you again for your patience. We are very excited to be moving forward with a market this year and we look forward seeing you!


If you have any questions, please refer to the Urban Market Frequently Asked Questions at or you may contact us by email at or phone at 780-215-2669.

Urban Market Team

2016 Community Group Application Form

2016 RulesRegulations

2016 Vendor Application Form

2016 Vendor Waiver Indemnity



Wood Buffalo Artist Creates Wildfire-Inspired Painting for Online Auction

In the wake of the Fort McMurray wildfires Sharon Heading, a long-time Fort McMurray resident and artist, is using her art to heal and provide financial support for her community. Heading has created a piece inspired by Calgary firefighter Sara Durocher’s photograph of a rainbow in the midst of a smoldering forest that has been widely shared on social media over the past several weeks. In partnership with Arts Council Wood Buffalo (ACWB), the charcoal and gouache (a type of watercolour) painting will be auctioned off online, with all proceeds going to help local artists rebuild.

Heading was immediately inspired by the original photograph: “I was amazed that in the middle of the heat and wet (she was dodging a stream of water) she took the time to snap a photo with her phone.” Heading said that throughout the tragedy that has befallen Fort McMurray, she has been “focusing on tiny perfect moments. A way to remind myself that it is important to take joy where we can and not be overwhelmed by life and what it can throw our way. This seemed like one of those moments.”

ACWB Executive Director, Constance Scarlett says she’s excited to support this project. “We have been absolutely humbled by the out pouring of support from the arts community across Canada asking to help Wood Buffalo artists. When Sharon, an evacuee herself, approached us with this auction we immediately wanted to make it a reality.” For Scarlett, providing support for the region’s artists is an important part of the rebuilding process; “we know that the arts will be crucial in rebuilding a balanced community in Fort McMurray with a remarkable quality of life. In order to be a part of that rebuilding process, our artists will need certain resources themselves.”

Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Heading has called the west home for the last 16 years. Art education came later in life when she took courses at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Visual and Performing Arts Program at Keyano College. Heading finds the process as rewarding as the finished work. Her art has been evolving over the years as she experimented with various mediums and styles. Water and nature have been a dominant theme but there was no consistent focus until a recent experiment with “poured” paint resulted in a new body of work. Heading likes to work large with bold lines and dynamic colour, and says that “inspiration is everywhere, staying focused is always the challenge.”

For Heading, the piece she has created for the auction is a departure from her usual work which normally involves poured paint. “Even if I had access to my studio or any studio, paint just would not work for this piece. I choose gouache and charcoal because that is exactly what the picture was: primal, water and fire. It didn’t ever occur to me to use anything else. The thought that something beautiful could be made from charcoal (the aftermath of fire) appealed to me.”

The auction will be hosted by ACWB on their Facebook page starting at 9:00 am MST on Monday, June 13. Bidders are asked to submit their bid in the comments section of the painting’s photo. For those who do not have Facebook but still wish to bid, please email The auction will close at 11:59 pm MST on Friday, June 17. The winner will be contacted by June 20. All proceeds will go to helping local artists who have lost supplies, artwork, and instruments as a result of the wildfire. Arts Council Wood Buffalo will announce how the funds are to be distributed in July. Visit the ACWB Facebook page at