New #YMMARTS Column - Saturday Today

A long time ago, when the Fort McMurray Today first started doing a Saturday edition, I wrote a weekly arts column in my role as publicist at Keyano Theatre.  In many ways, it was my first foray into journalistic writing, and bless the management of the time for allowing me to learn and grow as I went along.

We very consciously tried to provide a sense of balance in the column, talking about things happening at Keyano, yes, but also arts going on throughout the community, all the disciplines.  Honestly, I don't know how long I wrote the column, but I'm guessing it was 6 or 7 years.  It only stopped when my professional focus changed back in 2006.

It struck me, early yesterday morning, that with Arts Council Wood Buffalo's mandate to promote and celebrate the value of arts and the raise the awareness of the value that arts bring to our community and region, adding a weekly arts column to our list of activities would make a lot of sense.  I sent a proposal over to our friends at the Fort McMurray Today and they jumped on board immediately.

So, starting on December 14, the #YMMARTS column will begin as a co-presentation of the Fort McMurray Today and Arts Council Wood Buffalo.

What does success look like, if we are reflecting back on a full year of arts stories?  In my mind, there will be multiple moments of "Oh my God, I had no idea!" and "Thank you for writing about that event, as it was amazing."  We would also be looking back on a series of interviews that peeled back the layers of both the usual and unusual suspects in the arts community.  I think having widened the net would also be another measure of success, more stories of arts and culture activity happening beyond the borders of our urban centre and in communities like Anzac, Janvier, Conklin, Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan.

On a personal note, this column gives me an opportunity to grow as a writer and communicator.  I embrace all those opportunities that come my way.  It also gives me a great excuse to meet more amazing people in our region doing creative things.  Since I have begun my interim role as executive director of Arts Council Wood Buffalo, I've had the honour of meeting some pretty incredible individuals who are in our midst making music, creating art, dancing, writing, acting, building, innovating and exploring. Having this task of writing a weekly column gives me an additional excuse to seek out these creatives and share their stories.

How can you help?  Be our eyes and ears in the region.  What are you seeing, hearing or experiencing that deserves to be shared and celebrated.  Send me us an email ( or connect in whatever way works for you.  Text or call us at 780-881-3752.  Send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.  Drop by our office in the Arts Centre at Keyano College.  Whatever works.  We would love to hear from you about a story that deserves to be told.


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