ACWB is Centre Stage with Nelly Wati Tinkess of Balloon Moose Studio

Read this month’s Arts Council Wood Buffalo member feature in the April edition of snapd Wood Buffalo, on stands now!

Nelly Wati Tinkess is a local balloon artist on a mission to educate the public on this expanding art form. Nelly, originally from Indonesia, moved to Canada 5 years ago. Her education and work experience includes public relations, marketing, and communications in places such as Jakarta and Vancouver. Nelly started working as a hobbyist jewelry maker while pursuing a full time job. Three years ago she noticed a photograph of a large balloon sculpture of a mermaid on her Facebook news feed and she instantly became interested. Today Nelly owns a thriving balloon business in Fort McMurray called Balloon Moose Studio, known for delivering smiles and transforming air into art.

It’s no easy feat being a balloon artist, Nelly points out. Similar to many art disciplines, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that happens before there is a finished balloon product. Each project takes research, gathering inspirations, creating the concept and framework, deciding on appropriate techniques, safety assessments, long hours full of balloon tying, sore fingers and wrists. The joy people get from their balloon art is well worth the work for Nelly, and her plans for her practice are ever growing. Nelly created custom balloon art pieces, including hats and headbands, for attendees at ACWB’s 2016 Wood Buffalo Excellence in Art Awards. It was Nelly’s first gig where adults received her pieces and it has opened the doors to new opportunities.

An avid learner, Nelly understands the value of professional development and continued education in order to learn and improve her artistry. Nelly is well known as an innovator in the North American balloon artist community, and she was awarded a scholarship to attend the Twist & Shout Balloon Convention 2017 in Kissimmee, Florida. While participating in the jam sessions and attending the master classes Nelly was able to connect with other balloon professionals, growing her network while learning new techniques. “I learned a lot, new techniques, new ideas, and also got to know other artists that I can proudly say are my balloon family now,” she says.

Networking and creating relationships with other local artists is another way Nelly strives to grow her practice. Nelly is a founding member of the Wood Buffalo Artisans Society (WBAS), a non-profit organization in Fort McMurray. Nelly and other artisan entrepreneurs created WBAS to support and promote handcrafting artists and handmade products in the region.

Nelly believes the arts community is strong in Wood Buffalo and she is grateful to be part of it. She is often surprised by how much support she gets, not only from Arts Council Wood Buffalo, but from the community as a whole. Passion for her art form and her drive to share it with the community aids in fostering awareness and growth for all of the arts in Wood Buffalo. Learn more about Nelly and Balloon Moose Studio at and on Facebook and Instagram.

2016 ACWB Annual General Meeting & Member Mixer

Saturday September 24, 2016

Doors open at 9:30 am

Meeting begins at 10:00 am

Fireside Room, Suncor Community Leisure Centre (MacDonald Island Park)

  • Review of ACWB 2015 activities (PDF document)
  • Special resolution – adoption of new by-laws (PDF document)
  • Board of directors election
  • Networking

RSVP to or message us on Facebook by September 19, 2016.

If you are unable to attend, you can designate a proxy to carry your vote for you at the AGM. If you are a current member of Arts Council Wood Buffalo, but are unable to attend the 2016 AGM, please fill out this proxy form and return it to Constance Scarlett at by September 19 ,2016.

Arts Council Wood Buffalo in partnership with the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts presents The Business of The Arts Summit & AGM – June 4, 2016



Save the date for this exciting full day Business of the Arts conference. Featuring a variety of local and visiting artists, this summit aims to build the capacity of our local artists to compete and thrive in their artistry. The summit will offer a variety of sessions that will range from introductory classes to more in-depth lectures from experts in their chosen field.

After the summit ACWB will be hosting their Annual General Meeting, featuring engaging entertainment and networking opportunities for our members. Make sure to stay connected with ACWB online through our Facebook page and Twitter account for more information on this upcoming event! If you have any questions regarding the Summit, please e-mail Program Manager Michelle Thorne at

*This event was regretfully cancelled due to the 2016 wildfire and evacuation.*

2016 Membership Program Updates

As of January 1, 2016 Arts Council Wood Buffalo is updating its Membership Program benefits and fees. Over the past two years, ACWB has worked diligently to expand its membership benefits. Currently, members receive: monthly updates on opportunities for artists in the community; discounts on workshops and courses; exclusive access to the artists’ directory on the ACWB website; access to advisory and consultative services; Online promotion through ACWB social media and website; print promotion through the weekly YMMArts Column in the Fort McMurray Today; and, connection to a community of professional and emerging artists.

The estimated value is over $500 depending on the benefits you chose to take advantage of.

Beginning in 2016, ACWB is adding two new benefits for members: A Local Arts Business Discount Program and a Snapd Wood Buffalo Arts Feature. More details on these programs will be coming in January.

Arts Council Wood Buffalo will also be adjusting its membership fees in 2016 to better reflect the value of the programs and services provided by ACWB.

Membership 2016 Categories and Fees

  1 year 5 year
Adult $20.00 $80.00
Non-profit $30.00 $120.00
Business $50.00 $200.00
All ages, student ID required
$10.00 $40.00

ACWB is also introducing a new category of support: Friends. Arts Council Wood Buffalo Friends will receive the monthly e-newsletter plus access to the Local Arts Business Discount Program. However, Friends will not have access to any other benefits which are reserved for ACWB members (including voting privileges).

Friends 2016 Fees

  1 year 5 year
Friend $10.00 $40.00

Special early bird renewal period for existing ACWB members runs January 1-31, 2016. Renew your existing individual membership for just $15.00 in January only! To renew, please visit: The Early Bird Renewal Rate will go live on the website January 1, 2016.

For more information, please contact Michelle Thorne at