June 2024, in our memory and hearts.

As June draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the profound significance this month has held for me and our vibrant artistic community in Calgary.

ICAI Artist of the Month of June 2024.

This month was significant for many reasons; foremost, I was pleasantly surprised to be named Artist of the Month of June by the ICAI (Immigrant Council for Arts and Innovation). They interviewed me about my artistic career in Canada, particularly the eight years I’ve spent in Calgary. The recognition of my experience as an artist and manager and the importance they saw in sharing it with the community and beyond was a humbling surprise. There are times when we must accept the recognition they give us, and this was one of those times.

Coincidence or Curiosity? Perhaps, however, June 2024 was also very significant for ICAI because ICAI won the 2024 Calgary Awards in the Community Achievement: Arts category—a well-deserved award that its founder, Toyin Oladele, and her entire team obtained. So congrats, and please continue providing support and counselling to all those immigrant artists who arrive in this City and province with lots of experience and ideas to continue their profession in this challenging career.

Alex Sarian, Arts Commons 

Last but not least, on the contrary, an event without precedents that will remain in the memory of everyone in Calgary and even more for those of us who dedicate ourselves to the arts and culture is that on June 27, Arts Commons unveiled the most significant philanthropic gift to the Performing Arts in Canada—a $75 M gift from Dravid Werklund as part of ACT (Arts Commons Transformation ). This generous contribution will not only transform the impressive infrastructure of Arts Commons but also pave the way for new programs, initiatives, and opportunities for future generations. That will make Arts Commons the Werklund Center starting in 2025!! On behalf of many new generations of Calgarians and Albertans (including my kids), Thank you, David! And thank you, Arts Commons, for this great event! With nights like this, I confirm that I want to remain an arts believer forever!

Signing “The Napkin” a creative dream of David Werklund

I extend my heartfelt thanks to Alex Sarian, Arts Commons CEO, for his unwavering belief in the power of arts and culture. His leadership has been instrumental in creating a strong and vibrant community. To believe is to create, and Alex’s belief in the transformative power of the arts has indeed created a thriving artistic community in Calgary!

It will undoubtedly transform not only impressive infrastructure but also realities for future generations. I can’t wait!!

It was definitely a historic cultural event that I had the opportunity to witness in my City, my home, Calgary.

June 2024 will be remembered in our memory and hearts. A month where all those actors who, perhaps behind the scenes or from the audience, as in the case of the family Werklund, continue to insist that art is essential not only for our economy but for the transformation of individual and collective realities. The Werklund family’s continuous support and advocacy for the arts, through their generous donation and ongoing commitment, is a shining example for all of us, inspiring us to do our part in nurturing and promoting the artistic community.

Let’s keep moving forward to a real transformation! 

“The world will call it iconic. Calgary will call it home.”
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