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EPCOR's Heart + Soul Fund is Helping to Keep us Connected through the ARts

November 03, 2020
Published In: Community Investment

​They include the Art Gallery of Alberta, The Works International Visual Arts Society, Edmonton Opera, and several other local arts and theatre organizations (listed at the end of the release).

Funding is being provided to help these organizations adjust to the changing landscape brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they can continue offering world-class arts and cultural experiences that inspire and uplift Edmontonians.

"EPCOR understands the importance of being there when your community needs you the most. Now, more than ever, people are counting on us. That's why we created the Heart + Soul Fund — to help make sure the events we love don't become the events we loved," said Jennifer Addison, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, EPCOR.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is re-imagining its education programs into online content, digital learning capsules and mobile studio projects. The project will give teachers and schools access to tools and programs to connect their students to AGA exhibitions, artists, workshops and performances. The Heart + Soul Fund will be used to hire staff, pay artists' fees for content development, and upgrade technology. For more information, visit your AGA.

"Through this program, the AGA will be able to reach students across the capital region, continuing to provide unique and inspirational arts education programs, now online," said Catherine Crowston, Executive Director of the Art Gallery of Alberta. "Innovation, problem-solving, critical thinking and dynamic communication are core components of all AGA education programs, helping to expand students' multi-literacy capacities and creative expression. Art education motivates, inspires and connects students, all of which are very important for our community now and for the future."

The Works is bringing a giant, arched gateway installation to downtown. The temporary mural structure will be animated with workshops and invitations to add to the artwork, as well as opportunities to meet the artist. EPCOR's support of this installation will help support 20 to 30 artists and craftspeople. For more information visit The Works.    

"The Works Giant Gateway is an invitation and a pathway to connect," said Amber Rooke, Executive Artistic Director, The Works Art and Design Festival. "Even without sharing space, Edmontonians will share an experience rooted in a place. This funding is putting an impactful artwork out into the public in way that is safe and at a time when we all need a dose of beauty!" 

Edmonton Opera is creating a new digital chamber opera, called Wild Rose Scenas, which addresses mental health. The work will address the stigma, effects, and healing of mental health issues in our community, giving voice, through words and music to those suffering from mental health issues and initiating dialogue in the wider community through the digital performance and associated events. For more information, visit Edmonton Opera.

"EPCOR's support will allow us to commission a new digital chamber opera that will serve two essential goals for us as an opera company. It will help us tell local stories and to provide work to Alberta artists during this exceptionally difficult time for them," said Tim Yakimec, General Director, Edmonton Opera. "We'll be working with mental health organizations and people directly impacted by mental health to bring a uniquely local perspective to this 'made in Alberta' work. It is rare to get the opportunity to create new artistic work, and this funding allows us to connect with some very high level artists to collaborate and provide meaningful pieces that will resonate with Albertans."

Additional arts organizations and programs benefiting from the Heart + Soul Fund by EPCOR include:

YEG in Motion

Fall 2020 through to spring 2021

Ballet Edmonton will film short ballet pieces in a variety of iconic spaces in Edmonton. The pieces will be shared digitally throughout the fall and winter. They will also film adapted outreach ballet classes as an alternative to the in-person classes normally provided to children in need and seniors with cognitive impairment. The Heart + Soul Fund will support filming and production. For more information, visit Ballet Edmonton.

Varscona Theatre Reopening and Digitization

Program launched in October

With help from the Heart + Soul Fund, the Varscona Theatre will implement increased safety measures and reopen its doors for live performances. Funds will also help support the purchasing of video equipment in order to offer shows online and conduct virtual fundraising initiatives. The equipment will be made available to the four resident theatre companies that call the Varscona home. For more information, visit Varscona Theatre.

GeriActors Friends Audio Plays

November 2020 – June 2021

GeriActors and Friends (G&F) unites seniors and younger generations through performer-created play development. With staff and technology support from the Heart + Soul Fund, G&F is developing four original audio plays to perform virtually over Zoom, telephone networks and potentially radio. This project engages seniors at a time when many are isolated. For more information, visit GeriActors.

The Shadow Theatre: EPCOR Readings

November 15, 2020 – May 30, 2021

Edmonton New Shadow Theatre Society is presenting in-person, COVID-safe reading events, including two new plays and one performance of excerpts of plays in development. The three events feature 15 artists and no admission fees. For more information, visit Shadow Theatre.

Theatre Network Book Club

December 1 – March 31, 2020

Theatre Network is presenting a new way to get Canadian theatre in front of audiences this winter: Theatre Network's Book Club. While attending live theatre is still difficult, this book club will turn audiences into theatre readers, and facilitate discussion with a selection of local playwrights in online sessions throughout the winter. More information is coming soon to Theatre Network.

Quick Facts:

  • EPCOR's investment in COVID-19 pandemic relief and recovery totals $2 million in 2020. This includes:
    • $1.25 million Heart + Soul Fund by EPCOR.
    • $300,000 for the United Way and Edmonton Community Foundation.
    • $82,000 for local Edmonton charities from employee matching campaign.
    • More than $400,000 in top-up support for EPCOR's existing Edmonton community partners and recovery efforts in the other jurisdictions EPCOR operates.
  • The $2 million for pandemic relief and recovery efforts is in addition to the $1 million EPCOR provides annually in community support

For more information contact:

Adam Sidon
Media Relations
(780) 412-4962


EPCOR, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, builds, owns and operates electrical, natural gas and water transmission and distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary and stormwater systems, and infrastructure in Canada and the United States. The Company also provides electricity, natural gas and water products and services to residential and commercial customers. EPCOR, headquartered in Edmonton, is an Alberta Top 75 employer.

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