Foundation announces new Creative Encouragement Award


The Lieutenant Governor of Alberts Arts Awards Foundation announced a new award in recognition of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Foundation. The award was launched at the 2023 Distinguished Artist Award event September 16 in Medicine Hat.

The Creative Encouragement Award will be given in conjunction with the Distinguished Artist Awards and provide a $3,000 gift from each Distinguished Artist to a mid-career artist they wish to acknowledge and encourage. The program was piloted with the 2021 Distinguished Artists and proved a tangible way of connecting our highly accomplished artists to the upcoming in their fields.

The four recipients of the 2023 Creative Encouragement Award were in attendance for the announcement. 

Amena Shehab, nominated by Mieko Ouchi Mieko first met Amena in Edmonton where Amena had fled with her children in the midst of the Syrian crisis. Amena worked professionally in theatre, film and television in Syria, producing children’s TV programs for Al Jazeera, and also working as a playwright and actor. Mieko and Amena have been working on a co-written piece in English and Arabic which has been workshopped at the Banff Playwrights Lab. 

Alanna Bluebird, nominated by Michelle Thrush. Alanna Bluebird is a transformative artist and the founder of HEAL, Helping Every Artist Live. With a passion for creativity and self-expression, Alanna has pursued a diverse range of artistic endeavours. As a professional photographer, Alanna has captured stunning images featured in numerous publications. Alanna is also an accomplished spoken word poet, a self-published children’s book author, and an artistic director and producer known for their truly unforgettable productions. 

Corinne Dickson and Karen Bray, nominated by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis.

Corinne Dickson is a natural born explorer. A painter, glassblower, muralist, ceramicist, photographer, teacher, voice artist, and avid backcountry hiker, she is always ready to venture into new territory.

Much of Corinne’s work reflects her deep connection with the natural world. A standout in her vast and varied catalogue of works is her series of ‘fractal’ paintings, lovingly detailed images that juxtapose the massive and the miniature – giving a tiny lichen equal consideration to a giant rock face. These paintings inspire in the viewer a new appreciation of the merits of close observation and the remarkable beauty of patterns in nature. 

Karen Bray moves easily among a wide mix of media including painting, sculpture, collage, and hook rug making. Her work is smart, sharp, and honest. On first blush, her art is non-threatening, accessible, well-crafted, and a little cheeky. A closer look reveals provocative preoccupations: death, sex, fragility, class, and religion—to name a few. Her work questions our values and preconceptions. She subverts sentimentality, elevates the ordinary and makes the unseen seen. 

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