The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation, established in 2003, offers two awards programs in alternative years:

The Distinguished Artist Awards program (odd years) gives up to three awards of $30,000 each in recognition of outstanding achievement. The Emerging Artist Awards program (even years) gives up to 10, $10,000 awards to promising artists at an early stage of their professional careers.

Alberta communities enter into a less formal competition by submitting proposals to host the Distinguished Artist Awards Gala as the cornerstone of a local arts celebration designed to strengthen their creative community.

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation is incorporated under the Companies Act in Alberta and a registered charity.

Arlene Strom


Arlene Strom has been with Suncor Energy for 16 years.  Since January 2019, Arlene has been in the role of Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel for Suncor.  Prior to taking on this role, Arlene led various portfolios including Sustainability, Communications, Indigenous and Community Relations, Government Relations, and Corporate and Oil Sands Legal.  Arlene is a board member on the Suncor Energy Foundation and chairs Suncor’s Inclusion & Diversity Council.

Prior to joining Suncor, Arlene worked at Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP as a securities lawyer, and for three years taught Securities Law as a sessional at the University of Calgary Law School.

Arlene chairs the board of the Alberta Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards Foundation and is a member of the University of Calgary Management Advisory Council for the Haskayne School of Business.

Arlene has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Trinity Western University, a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of British Columbia, and an LLB from University of British Columbia.

Kathy Classen

Executive Director

Kathy’s career has spanned a spectrum ranging from arts advocate and administrator, to communications and public relations, and strategic stakeholder engagement. She served as Executive Director of Theatre Alberta from 1993-2004 and then moved into a career in stakeholder engagement and organizational leadership at the Alberta Cancer Foundation;  Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions; and Covenant Health’s Network of Excellence in Seniors’ Health and Wellness. Kathy has been with the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation since 2017. “The arts have infused all aspects of my life and enriched my work experiences immeasurably” says Classen who is thrilled to help promote and celebrate Alberta’s artists.

Board of Directors:

  • Beverley Foy, Director Calgary
  • Cheryl Gottselig, Director Calgary
  • Sam Jenkins, Director Edmonton
  • Colleen Purdy, Treasurer Calgary
  • Alice Major, Director Edmonton
  • Annemarie Petrov, Director Edmonton
  • Jenna Rodgers, Director Calgary
  • Karl Schwonik, Director Calgary
  • Arlene Strom, Chair Calgary
  • Aritha Van Herk, Director Calgary
  • Noel Xavier, Director Edmonton

Foundation Members:

  • Jenny Belzberg (founder)
  • Glen Buick
  • Joanne Cuthbertson
  • Beverley Foy
  • Morris Flewwelling
  • Cheryl Gottselig
  • Susan Green
  • Sam Jenkins
  • Lloyd Lewis
  • Alice Major
  • Jim McKillop
  • Eric P. Newell
  • Annemarie Petrov
  • Colleen Purdy
  • Ken Regan
  • Jenna Rodgers
  • Karl Schwonik
  • Monica Sloan
  • Arlene Strom
  • Phil Ponting
  • Aritha van Herk
  • Noel Xavier