The Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation (ICAI) is excited to announce the Artist of the Month for the month of May is theatre artist and performing artist Vicky Velasco.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with Vicky and chat about her artistic journey and the challenges immigrant artists still face today in Canada.
Tell us a little about your artistic journey?
Currently I am the Artistic Director at the Gato Negro Spanish Theatre. My journey has been great with a lot of support from the Latin Community in Calgary. I hope now to also have the opportunity to engage with the general public and theatre lovers in Calgary.
In the beginning of my journey, I entered drama school in Venezuela. Since then I have taught acting and directed plays in Venezuela. Since I arrived in Canada 15 years ago I have found limited opportunity to practice my art. But then I started my own company to teach drama in Spanish, I started to direct Spanish-language plays at the Gato Negro Spanish Theatre, and I even worked as an artist-in-residence. I also taught drama in schools, public and private.
The biggest part of my journey has been being able to work as an artist again because my art is definitely a part of me and it is getting stronger with time. Because my art is tied to my culture and my background and to share that, it makes me proud. And I hope to enable others to be proud of their culture through their art as well.
Can you tell us about your goals as an artist?
My journey as an artist in drama and then as a theatre director started at a very young age. Then as a new immigrant started showcasing my culture with plays by Latino American writers and artists. My main goal is to bring these plays to life and make our audience feel proud of their culture, their artists, and showcase my culture to my new home, Calgary.
Currently, I am co-directing a play called Por Los Que Tuvieron Que Partir or For Those Who Have to Leave. It will be showcased on June 11-12. I hope you can go and see the play.
What are the challenges you are currently facing as an immigrant/newcomer artist?
I would say that language has been my major challenge, and understanding how to navigate through the opportunities the city and Canada offer in general like how to obtain grants, how to advertise yourself.
What would you like to share with the people of Calgary about your art?
I would like to share all the excellent plays I have directed right here in Calgary, Quimeras, which has short stories from Latin American writers Like Henry Gonzalez, Jose Gabriel Nunez, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and another play based on the work of Mario Benedetti. With all these stories and plays, I truly believe my art has some universal truths for all audiences to enjoy.
We would like to extend our thanks to Vicky and if you would like to know more about her, please visit: