Musicians, poet, and Mann Art Gallery educator to be inducted into PA Arts Hall of Fame

Clockwise from left: the Prince Albert Concert Band, Darcy Blahut, Lana Wilson, and Brian Sklar. – Lana Wilson photo by Peter Lozinski, all other photos submitted.

Brian Sklar, Darcy Blahut, Lana Wilson, and the Prince Albert Concert Band may focus their energies on separate areas of the arts world, but in September their all have one thing in common: a spot in the Prince Albert Arts Hall of Fame.

The Prince Albert Arts Board announced on May 16 that the PA Concert Band and Sklar would be inducted into the Music category, while Blahut would go in under Literature and Wilson as a Builder.

Arts board chair Adreanna Boucher said the usually large induction class is a sign Prince Albert residents cherish their local artists.

“COVID shut everything down, and now that everything’s opened up again, I think people are less likely to take for granted the joy and pleasure being involved in the arts and being able to take in arts events,” Boucher said. “I think it kind of got people excited to want to celebrate the artists who are out there doing things.”

Sklar was born and raised in Prince Albert and is one of Canada’s most decorated country music performers, with 43 albums, numerous chart sinles, and more than 350 network and syndicated TV shows. His television series, CTV’s Number One West, has won a total of six national awards for excellence.

Blahut has lived in Prince Albert for 25 years and has become a fixture in the city’s poetry scene. He has written three full-length collections of poesm, a collaborative book of both prose and poetry, as well as chapbooks. He also takes the occasional tangent into children’s stories, long fiction, shorts, and stage plays.

Wilson has spent 10 years as the Mann Art Gallery’s Manger of Education programs where she developed extensive visual arts programs that helped residents of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and motilities engage with the arts.

The Prince Albert Concert Band is the oldest cultural institution in Prince Albert, having predated the city’s founding. Before mass media, the band was the community’s main source for music and entertainment at social events. The band has gone through several rebirths over the years, but still performs at events such as Remembrance Day while putting on two or three concerts annually.

The Daily Herald will have profiles on all inductees closer to the induction gala on Friday, Sept. 27.

This year’s event will feature a major change. With so many inductees, the Arts Board has decided to host a ticketed ceremony in the E.A. Rawlinson Centre theatre to go along with the annual ticketed dinner.

The ceremony will feature performances from local artists, dancers, and musicians in between recognizing each inductee.

“Because we have four inductees, we know that there’s going to be more people who are going to want to come and take part in celebrating them,” Boucher explained. “We wanted to be able to include as many people as possible.

“Also, Kevin Joseph is on our board and he actually made a comment one day at one of our meetings about how artists have lost stages where they can get up and perform over the years and that was kind of in the forefront of our mind, thinking, well, as the arts board, we should be creating stages for people to perform.”

Boucher said there will be performance-only tickets available for residents who want to view the show without attending the dinner. Residents who buy tickets for the show will receive free tickets to the performance.

Tickets will be available on the E.A. Rawlinson Centre website and at the box office by mid-June.