Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts was established in 1986.
Emerging from the spectacular Ukrainian cultural event, Festival ’88, Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts (ACUA) has been celebrating Ukrainian arts for over thirty years. ACUA came together as a volunteer council to interest visual and performing artists in their Ukrainian identity and creativity to stimulate growth of Ukrainian culture in Alberta.
ACUA is a non-profit Ukrainian arts organization incorporated under the Societies Act of Alberta. It is the mandate of ACUA to facilitate and encourage a greater appreciation and awareness of the Ukrainian arts and their cultural significance to the greater Alberta community. Through exhibitions, tours, festivals, educational programs, workshops, and special projects, ACUA promotes growth and provides support to the Ukrainian arts and artists living in Alberta. ACUA also promotes the development of the Ukrainian arts and provides a communication link between members of ACUA, the Ukrainian arts community and the broader Alberta public.
Canada was built upon people immigrating and bringing along their unique cultures. In 1988, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act officially recognized the importance of multiculturalism in Canada and ensured equality for all cultural groups in Canada. This historic act brought a group of people together in Alberta to form a Ukrainian arts council. Roman Petryshyn was the driving force behind this group, and he worked closely with Rena Hanchuk to develop what is known today as Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts or ACUA.
In the early 90s, ACUA officially chose a logo, which is still used today. Our logo includes a rushnyk – a Ukrainian ceremonial towel. This is an item which is present in Ukrainian life from cradle to grave. It is a revered symbol which has a role to play in nearly every major life event; it is thought of as a powerful visual symbol that unites all stages of Ukrainian life.
The board of directors work tirelessly for ACUA and the arts community. Since 1986, ACUA has had over 130 board members with many board members serving multiple terms.
Organization highlights include:
- 1987 – ACUA was incorporated as a Non-Profit Organization under the Society Act in Alberta.
- 1990 – The first ACUA Vitae was published; Jars Balan named the magazine as a double entendre. Vitae in Latin as a take on Curriculum Vitae, and then on the Ukrainian Vitae as to welcome.
- 1990 – First annual Excellence in Artistry Awards was hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in Edmonton. ACUA recognized many artists through this awards program; Tetiana Fedoriw (posthumous), Peter Shostak, and Gene Zwozdesky were recognized first.
- 1993 – ACUA published its first Directory of Ukrainian Artists, which is still maintained today in an online format.
- 1994 – ACUA and CKER Radio established The Ukrainian Arts Hotline, where people could call in and hear a recording of upcoming Ukrainian events; this was the idea of Wally Tarnawsky.
- 1995 – ACUA started to develop its award and scholarship program.
- 2009 – ACUA started to coordinate the ART Barn activities for Ukrainian Days hosted by Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta Provincial Branch.
- 2012 – Prairie Dreamscapes travelling exhibit showed at the KUMF Gallery in Toronto and St John’s Institute in Edmonton.
- 2014 – ACUA launched the Signature Artist Series at the Art Gallery of Alberta.
- 2014 – ACUA hosted its first annual Easter Market and Christmas Market.
- 2015 – ACUA moved to a new location with retail space in the Strathearn Centre; in September we hosted the grand opening of the ACUA Gallery & Artisan Boutique.
- 2016 – ACUA hosted the first Ukrainian Wedding Fair and Ukrainian Vintage Fair.
- 2017 – ACUA celebrated 125 years of Ukrainian immigration and settlement by co-hosting a month-long exhibit, Five Waves of Inspiration, at the Art Gallery of Alberta and Route of Our Roots food festival at Old Timer’s Cabin.
- 2018 – ACUA participated in The Works Festival for the first time, as a community art gallery.
- 2018 – ACUA launched Home is Where the Art Is annual fundraiser.
- 2020 – ACUA in partnership with Focus on Fibre Arts Association acquired an additional 2,500 square feet of multipurpose space adjacent to our current office and retail space.