Great Arts Managers Recognized and Celebrated with 2018 Rozsa Award Shortlist Announcement

Alberta’s annual Rozsa Award continues to bring arts managers from backstage to centre stage.


Arts management is rarely the first thought that comes to mind when one thinks about the arts sector. But behind all the curious colour, dazzling sound, expert lighting and affecting words, there are small armies of arts administrators laboring tirelessly to keep the arts sector afloat. Visual art, literature, theatre, music, dance, opera and other art forms require a great deal of time and effort to produce. For the Arts Managers who work daily behind the scenes to present and produce art for an audience, it is not often they are brought forward to the limelight.


They work long hours for considerably less pay than their contemporaries in other sectors. They are at the front-lines of fundraising and advocacy, coordinating teams of staff, interns, artists, and volunteers, all while juggling partnerships, sponsorships, strategic plans, budgets, and often volunteering any remaining spare time to work annual casino nights, festivals, premiers, or exhibition openings. The job of an Arts Manager is a difficult one, yet it’s the love and passion for building better, more beautiful and more inclusive communities which drives them. Arts Managers are truly the heroes of the arts sector. They are the reason we experience world-class productions in our province.


Since 2002, the Rozsa Foundation has recognized Arts Managers through the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management. The award was created to honour the core philanthropic values of founders’ Drs Ted and Lola Rozsa. Unique in Canada, the annual award celebrates outstanding arts managers and provides additional professional development benefits to the recipient and their organization. To date, the foundation has disbursed over one million dollars in cash and benefits to recipients of the award. Each year, arts organizations from across the province nominate executive managers who have shown exceptional leadership, steering their companies with foresight and innovation. Selected by the Rozsa Award Jury from a province-wide pool of exemplary nominees, this year, the shortlisted Rozsa Award nominees include:
JP Thibodeau, Artistic Producer of Storybook TheatreKeri Mitchell, Executive Director of Theatre Alberta, and Shelley Youngblut, CEO and Creative Ring Leader of Wordfest.



Since 2013, JP Thibodeau has worked tirelessly to produce exceptional theatre for young audiences. Under Thibodeau’s enthusiastic leadership, Storybook Theatre has grown significantly from a community theatre group into semi-professional company.

As Executive Director of Theatre Alberta, Keri Mitchell has shown herself to be a powerful ally for theatre in Alberta. Since taking on the leadership role in 2010, after a lengthy history with the company, Mitchell’s impassioned dedication has been evident through her spearheading of several dynamic initiatives that have enhanced Theatre Alberta’s programming and ensure the company’s financial stability and future.  

Shelley Youngblut has breathed new life into an arts organization that only a short time ago was set it close its doors. Since taking over as Creative Director in 2015, Youngblut has implemented pivotal changes and fostered powerful partnerships that have transformed the organization from the host of a week-long literary celebration to a celebrated purveyor of dynamic and profitable year-round programming that draws major talent and audiences from around the world. These are just the beginnings of each nominees’ long list of accomplishments.


The 2018 Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management recipient will be announced Monday, October 15th

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