2020 Scholarships & Awards Winners

We are excited to celebrate the several winners of the 2020 Awards & Scholarships program. We would like to gratefully acknowledge the volunteers on the scholarship committee, including Karen Larson and Craig Scott, who is also our Board Chair. Karen helped our coordinator, Suzanne, both in revising and updating our applications and also in screening the applications received. Thank you, Karen for all your hard work, throughout the years and especially this year for stepping up to help organize this more complicated COVID-affected jurying process.

We’d also like to thank our jury members. While juries are anonymous, these talented members of our creative community have dedicated many hours reviewing over 20 submissions and they had the challenging task of deciding who, among the many worthy candidates merited these awards. We had a record number of submissions this year, so we are very grateful to these jurors for their commitment to our developing community of talented artists, both students and professionals. Each juror was very pleased to bestow these awards upon the winners and offer their best wishes for the coming year, especially in this more challenging landscape.

While we were not able to celebrate these winners in person, the Chair for the Board of Directors, Craig Scott, hosted an online awards ceremony on Thursday, June 18th via Cisco Webex. Most winners were able to attend, which was a happy outcome as our in-person awards ceremony, date TBA, may take place when students are away at school (though we will make every effort to schedule it for a suitable time.)


RDC Music Society Scholarship – Sarah Curtis

First up, we’d like to announce the inaugural winner of the RDC Music Society Scholarship, valued at $750, awarded to Sarah Curtis. Sarah is a 2019 graduate of the University of Lethbridge Bachelor of Music program, with Great Distinction, and she has now been accepted to the Masters degree program at the University of Western Ontario to further hone her technical skills in operatic singing. We wish her all the best on her upcoming studies and we look forward to following her progress in the future.


Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Scholarship – Skylar Sabasch

Our second music-focused award is the $500 Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Scholarship for Secondary Students. This $500 scholarship is given to the top-scoring candidate, Skylar Sabasch. Skylar is a 2020 graduate of École Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School who has a passion for music – from early morning band practice to all-evening musical theatre rehearsals. She is working on her RCM level 9 in voice and has a good grasp of musical theory as well, with festival competitions and many years involved in choirs around the province. At time of submission, Skylar had received coveted audition spots at 4 major schools for opera and voice and was accepted to all schools. In Fall 2020, Skylar will be attending University of British Columbia's School of Music studying Opera! Congratulations, Skylar! Best wishes for your next journey in post-secondary!

Photo Credit: Jan Stolee

Centennial Scholarship for Secondary Students – Autumn Stolte

Our next scholarship winner is Autumn Stolte, winning the Centennial Scholarship for Secondary Students. Autumn is a talented and highly recommended grade 12 student (now graduate) from Lacombe Composite High School. She is a passionate visual artist who has participated in several provincial art show, this past winter’s Art in Ice initiative for Lacombe, and one of her sculptural works, Illusory, was purchased for the City of Lacombe’s Public Art Collection and is on display in the city’s Memorial Centre. Autumn is planning to work this year to raise funds for schooling when she can enter a program that will allow for in-person studio time. The $500 from this award will be put towards her tuition and we look forward to hearing updates on which venerable institution she selects when she can have a more normal education experience. Well done and congratulations, Autumn, we know your future will be bright!

Photo Credits: Christa Stolte

Emerging Artist Award – Ash Mercia

The Emerging Artist Award was created in 2013 to support and encourage promising artists early in their careers, and is valued at $1000. This year’s award winner is theatre artist, Ash Mercia. Ash is a performer, director and Improv creator on stage with several seasons as part of Bull Skit Comedy. She is a graduate of Red Deer College’s Theatre Performance and Creation program, has worked in Japan (teaching English) and in Italy (teaching English through theatre.) This spring, Ash had just opened as Sam in the one-person show, Fully Committed, for Central Alberta Theatre when COVID sadly closed the show. A re-mount this fall is hoped for, so please keep your eyes peeled and get your tickets for this amazing 30+ character tour-de-force performance. Ash has spent the past 2 years learning and launching a career as a film actor. The Emerging Artist Award will allow Ash to purchase professional recording equipment and create a demo reel, an imperative requirement to finding an agent and obtaining film and commercial work. Congratulations Ash and we wish you great success as you grow and develop your professional career.

Photo Credit: Jennifer George Photography

Artwalk Developing Visual Artist Award – Erin Boake


Today’s final award goes to talented painter and mother of two, Erin Boake. Erin’s 2019 exhibition, Hot Mess, at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery focused on aspects of motherhood. She’s lived in 9 different communities across Canada, including Nova Scotia and Nunavut, and has gained a strong appreciation for the diversity of our nation’s cultural and artistic landscape. During quarantine, Erin and her friend Marnie Blair, a visual arts instructor at RDC, created a project called ‘Our Daily Bread’ with Marnie baking up new recipes and Erin painting a still life of the final product. The initial run of paintings sold at auction in benefit of The Mustard Seed and the ladies have continued to create bread paintings, though happily at a more relaxed pace for all. Erin owns Artribute Art School inside Red Deer’s Old Court House, helping young people to create fascinating and inspired art pieces. Make sure to get your pet’s portrait done in the next Humane Society charity commission! While the course Erin planned to take has been postponed, she is excited to use her $1500 award to refresh her own artistic process so she can not only develop her own abilities, but also to guide her students to think creatively and explore. Congratulations Erin on your well-deserved award!

It may be noted that a few scholarships have not been announced for 2020. Please view the attached document regarding this turn of events HERE.