Every month ICAI awards an immigrant artist with its prestigious Artist of the Month award. The chosen artist is showcased on our social media and newsletter throughout the entire month, introducing them to the local arts scene and helping them build a network for future opportunities.
Smitha Varghese, our Programs Manager, is proud to see how the award gives immigrant artists the recognition they deserve, an accomplishment to highlight on their resume, and be encouraged to pursue further opportunities in Calgary. Smitha saw this change after Jimena Odetti was chosen as Artist of the Month in November 2021, within two months of arriving to Calgary, and then receiving opportunities to showcase her work.
ICAI Artist of the Month is supported by CKUA Radio, who interviews each artist and highlights them on their website. This month, we are introducing a new supporter, Sparrow Artspace, who hopes to invite these artists into their studio space to dream of new possibilities. We are joined by Scott Zielsdorf from CKUA Radio and Sandra Neill from Sparrow Artspace to talk about the past, present and future of Artist of the Month from their point of view.
After ending his internship, Scott’s first big project at CKUA was directing ICAI’s Artist of the Month interviews. He was drawn to the wide range of backgrounds, artistic mediums and diversity in each artist he interviewed. Each encounter was a surprise, yet an eye-opening experience of how culturally diverse Alberta truly is and ICAI’s efforts to highlight it. One month, Scott could be talking to Hebert Poll Gutiérrez and his play Cuba Que Linda es Cuba: Confessions of a Fearless Cuban, and another he could be listening to a sneak peek of KTHE Chosen's unreleased album. Scott is proud to support ICAI’s artists and continue to help their stories have a wider reach.
Sandra Neill’s first encounter with ICAI was by interacting with our founder and executive director, Toyin Oladele, through the Crescent Heights mini galleries, where ICAI partnered with the Crescent Heights Community last year. The conversation intrigued her to follow ICAI’s social media and after attending the final celebration of IAMP, she solidified her belief that ICAI’s values of supporting artists aligned with her own. As the director of Sparrow Artspace, she had talked with newcomer artists about the challenges of transitioning to a completely new country and navigating a new system. Now, she is excited to see ICAI taking the lead in representing this community. By collaborating with ICAI through our Artist of the Month program, she doesn’t place expectations, but opens the door for artists to build a relationship and propose their own project.
Our new Artist of the Month will be announced in October 2022!