March 20, 2019

How to support the arts in Calgary: Attend. Promote. Invest.

Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions honours emerging, established and innovative artists, including some with a UCalgary connection

Attend. Promote. Invest. These are the top three things Mayor Naheed Nenshi says we can do to support arts in Calgary. His annual luncheon, hosted in collaboration with Calgary Arts Development, has a long history of bringing together the arts and business sectors. Initially launched in 1993 under the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance, this lunch continues to support emerging, established and innovative artists through seven award categories.   

Every year the University of Calgary is proud to have connections to a number of recipients, whether they are alumni, students or faculty. As an institution who plays an integral role in training, educating and supporting the arts and artists in Calgary, it is rewarding to see them recognized by this community.

Dr. Richard Sigurdson, dean of the Faculty of Arts, says, “The Mayor’s Luncheon for Arts Champions is always an outstanding event, highlighting the importance of arts to the life of a city. The economic impact of the cultural community in Calgary is huge, but even more important is the inherent value of culture: life-enhancing, entertaining, defining of our personal and collective identities.

"The Faculty of Arts is especially proud that great faculty members, such as Vivek Shraya, and outstanding graduates, like Meghann Michalsky, are able to be celebrated at the Mayor’s Lunch for the contributions they make to enhancing our city.”

Recipients include:

Vivek Shraya, associate professor in the Department of English, received the ATB Financial Healing Through the Arts Award for her multidisciplinary work creating films, books, and songs that explore and interrogate the complex effects of racism, homophobia, and transphobia on mental and physical health.

Peter Schryvers BA’06, MEDes’10, received the Mamdani Arts Leadership Award for his work leading the Beltline Urban Murals Project. He has facilitated a dozen stunning murals in the Beltline that have inspired and activated the neighbourhood. 

Meghann Michalsky BA’14, pictured above, received the RBC Emerging Artist award for her incredible level of artistic output, her impressive motivation for growth and change, and her determined and productive investment in the Calgary community. 

Michalsky, the first contemporary dancer to be recognized by this award, says she’s excited about what this award could mean for contemporary dance in the city: “I hope this recognition helps elevate contemporary dance not only in Calgary, but on the national stage.”

She says receiving this award from the Mayor’s Lunch and the Calgary community is especially meaningful: “I’m born and raised in Alberta, attended an Alberta university, and continue to spend my time in this amazing city. To be recognized by the Calgary community means a lot to me.” When asked what advice she would give to current students Michalsky says, “Success is defined by you, don’t let others define it for you.”

The University of Calgary is a patron and table sponsor of this event. Learn more about the awards and recipients.