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Northern Lights recipient – Jane Kaczmer

On August 31, 2023, Jane Kaczmer was recognized for her dedicated support of artists and art organizations.

Jane Kaczmer

Location: Cochrane, Alberta

It’s been said that a true artist is not only one who is inspired, but one who inspires others. The same could be said of Jane Kaczmer. As a long-time volunteer, Jane’s efforts to create new opportunities for artists and arts organizations have helped to strengthen and create awareness of Cochrane’s vibrant arts community.  The dedication of this long-time volunteer is as inspiring as the artists she has helped to showcase.

Jane has been a driving force behind the Cochrane Music Society for more than 20 years, helping to promote local artists and provide aspiring musicians and performers access to music education programs. For 16 years, Jane organized the annual West Valley Winds Workshop for concert bands, attracting musicians from across Alberta and BC anxious to learn from top flight guest directors Jane has enlisted over the years. While the event was sidelined due to pandemic health concerns, Jane is already making plans to resume the workshop – rebranded as the Mike Sakatch Concert Band Workshop – in 2024.

Jane’s involvement with the Cochrane Integrated Arts Society lead to her taking on the role of primary organizer of Cochrane Culture Days in 2020. The multicultural arts showcase, held each September to coincide with province-wide Alberta Culture Days celebrations, features an impressive lineup of visual, performance, literary and film artists from Cochrane and area. While pandemic health protections curtailed many public events, Jane ensured ongoing opportunities for Cochrane area artists to connect with audiences through online arts activities.

Recognizing the power of art to bring people together, Jane has helped support efforts toward reconciliation by creating opportunities for relationship- building like the July 2021 “Bridging Relationships” event and the very first Stoney Nakoda Beading Workshop led by Nakoda Nation Elder Pauline Twoyoungmen. The workshop provided an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants to learn from skilled beading artists and to create a unique pin to be worn as a symbol of participant support of Cochrane’s new Indigenous Centre, Wazin Îchinabi Ti in Cochrane. Jane is part of the Wazin Îchinabi Ti organizing team and is helping to prepare the space for its opening.

While support of the arts and artists is a focus of Jane’s volunteerism, she has also contributed her time and talents to help address other community needs, volunteering with Home Reno Heaven, an organization that collects and sells used hardware and building supplies with proceeds directed to the Cochrane Society for Housing Options. Jane also shares her time as volunteer with Îyârhe Nakoda Food Bank in Mini Thni (Morley).

Blending tenacity and tenderness, Jane is helping to build a stronger, more inclusive and more creative Cochrane. For shining a spotlight on the local arts scene, Jane Kaczmer takes centre stage as recipient of Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition honours.

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