2021 Scholarships & Awards Winners

We are excited to celebrate the several winners of the 2021 Awards & Scholarships program. We would like to gratefully acknowledge the volunteers on the scholarship committee, including Karen Larson and Craig Scott. 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. Each juror was very pleased to bestow these awards upon the winners and offer their best wishes for the coming year as you continue your development.

While we were not able to celebrate these winners in person, the Chair for the Board of Directors, Michael Richard, hosted an online awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 via Zoom. Most winners were able to attend.


RDC Music Society Scholarship – Skylar Sabasch

First up, we’d like to take a moment to announce the second ever winner of the RDC Music Society Scholarship, awarded to Skylar Sabasch. She just her first year at The University of British Columbia’s Bachelor of Music in Opera program, with a Major in Performance. She is also planning a double major in Theatre Performance here at UBC to improve her acting abilities and help reach her goals as a singer. While these funds will support her next year of studies, we can look forward to seeing her again as she plans to continue her studies with a Masters in Opera Performance somewhere in Europe when her program is complete.

Skylar, we wish you all the best in your upcoming studies and we look forward to following your progress in the future.

Photo Credit: Jan Stolee

Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Scholarship - Secondary Students

Our $500 Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Scholarship for Secondary Students was not given out this year due to lack of submissions.


Centennial Scholarship for Secondary Students – Ainsley Nivens

Our next scholarship winner is Ainsley Nivens, who has won the Centennial Scholarship for Secondary Students. She is currently a student of Arts Umbrella’s Professional Training Program in the Dance discipline in Vancouver and in completing her second full year with this amazing organization. She looks forward to graduating in June 2022 and she is excited to begin auditioning for international dance companies! The $500 from this award will be put towards her tuition for this final year of her education in residence and she is grateful that the arts have helped her to become well-rounded. As she said in her application, “The arts allow us to share connection with our fellow human beings; cutting through cultural difficulties and embracing inclusion.” So very true.

Well done and congratulations, Ainsley. We are proud to have supported you both now and in the past, because we know your future will be bright!

Centennial Scholarship for Post-Secondary Students - William Armstrong

We are pleased to announce that William Armstrong is the winner for our Centennial Scholarship for Post-Secondary students. This scholarship is assessed alongside the Princess Margaret Scholarship and allows the Red Deer Arts Council to honour two distinct college or university students completing their education in varying genres of the arts. William is a lifelong resident of Red Deer, and has just graduated from the Visual Arts program at Red Deer College. With his $500 scholarship, he is planning to continue is studies towards a Bachelor of Fine Art and eventually his Masters. He expresses his understanding of the world through painting, drawing, photography and various other media. While he’s planning to become a full-time visual artist and painter, due to his love of school he is leaving room for the possibility of becoming a teacher some day too. William also advised during the ceremony that he'll be continuing his studies in Calgary at the Alberta University for the Arts this fall! Congratulations and good luck with your education goals!

Princess Margaret Scholarship for Post-Secondary Students - Elena Stalwick

Our final scholarship is the Princess Margaret Scholarship, an award sponsored by the City of Red Deer and administered by the Red Deer Arts Council. This evening’s winner is Elena Stalwick, an actor and writer with a focus on non-fiction, poetry and playwrighting. Elena is currently at the University of Victoria completing her BFA in Creative Writing, having also studied at Red Deer College’s Performance and creation Program and the William Esper Studio’s two-year acting program in NYC. She has also studied Balinese Mask and dance in country but is also a familiar face in her hometown of Red Deer, performing in Butt Ugly and Under My Skin youth social action theatre initiatives. She is planning to publish a collection of her writing works by 2023, but first, she will use her $500 scholarship will be used to continue refining her voice at UVic for her second year this fall. Congratulations to Elena on your excellence with your literary writing submission and we wish you continued success with your education and writing career.

Emerging Artist Award – Kayla Williams

The next award to announce is the Emerging Artist Award. This award was created in 2013 to support and encourage promising artists early in their careers, and consists of $1000. This year’s award winner is theatre artist, Kayla Williams. She turned to her solo music career in recent years and has self-funded professional studio releases, which have led to commercial airplay, including on CBC radio. The Emerging Artist Award will allow Kayla to record a professional full EP (and eventually a full album) as a solo artist and tour the album around the country (when restrictions relax.)

Congratulations to Kayla and we wish her great success as she develops her professional music career!


Artwalk Developing Visual Artist Award – Wendy Meeres


The next award goes to painter, ceramic and glass artist, Wendy Meeres. In 2020, Wendy was able to make time to focus on her creative career and connections with the arts community and has been busy building her website, her teaching practice and own development. Wendy is excited to put her $1500 award towards building a solo exhibition called, “Here and There” that will encompass both her love of small-town Alberta and her many travel destinations around the world. She also has plans to build her art business through education and some painting classes to learn new techniques and refresh that artistic focus. Wendy has been a huge part of Red Deer’s creative community in her arts administration work and we look forward to seeing her continue to grow, learn and create with this new freedom.

Congratulations Wendy, on your well-deserved award.