2023 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artists Mieko Ouchi, Michelle Thrush and Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis were recognized as the City of Medicine Hat hosted the 2023 celebration in the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre on September 16.
Master of Ceremonies, Simon Mallett, 2008 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Recipient and Executive Director of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre, was a most engaging host for the celebration which began with rousing renditions of the Vice Regal Salute and Oh Canada by Medicine Hat’s Expandable Brass Quintet: Mark Ward and Joelle Steabner on trumpet; Pat Ward, horn; Teague Bates and Curtis Perrin on trombone. Jingle dancer Josie Saddleback from Samson Cree Nation delighted the audience with sparkling renditions of two traditional dances, and Medicine Hat’s Kaylyn Légére serenaded with a Celtic-themed violin solo and a lyrical take on the Beatles’ Blackbird.
Video profiles of the 2023 Distinguished Artists by Calgary’s award-winning Numera Films were interspersed throughout the show along with the presentation of medals and awards to the artists by Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani AOE, B.Sc., LLD (hon), Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. Clint Lawrence led a relaxed and entertaining conversation with the 2023 Distinguished Artists at the end of the awards presentation.
The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation announced a new award in recognition of the Foundation’s twentieth anniversary. The Creative Encouragement Award will be tied to the Distinguished Artist Awards and provide a $3,000 gift to a mid-career artist deserving tribute. Each Distinguished Artist will nominate a recipient for the Creative Encouragement Award.
A post-award reception in the galleries of the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre gave everyone a chance to meet Her Honour Lakhani and His Honour Dr. Zaheer Lakhani and to congratulate the 2023 Distinguished Artists in person.
Kudos to the City of Medicine Hat for a fine celebration of these outstanding artists.