Dick Finkel, 2014 Winner for the Golden Finkel – Alan Plotkin, Shelley Switzer and Dana Smith with the Golden Finkel
The loss of a legend….
With great sadness, the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival acknowledges the passing of the Festival’s co-founder and long-time producer (1985 to 1999), Mr. Dick Finkel. Highly regarded and deeply respected within the arts and street performance world in Edmonton and around the globe, Dick was instrumental in making both the Festival and the art form what it is today.
Dick’s success lay in his simple philosophy that by showing respect for the performers, the audiences and the volunteers, a certain magic is created… a unique atmosphere where extraordinary experiences and performances are a regular occurrence. Through his decades of work in the field, Dick empowered many artists to become great street performers, and inspired many to present, develop and support the art form around the world.
At the 1997 edition of Edmonton StreetFest, the “Golden Finkel” award was initiated by performer Robert “Butterfly Man” Nelson who suggested an award be given to individuals whose work represented a significant contribution to the realm of street theatre. This award recognizes excellence within the community and embodies the notion that certain members of the street performance world are dedicated to creating a sense of community as much as delivering great shows. A brass top hat, the award was appropriately named in Dick’s honour and is presented at the Festival each year. That tradition will lovingly continue.
“We have lost a great friend, a mentor, and a man who always encouraged us to do our best for the art of street performance,” said StreetFest Artistic Producer Shelley Switzer. “We can be comforted by the millions of smiles and laughs that have blossomed throughout our community through Dick’s hard work; by the elevation of the art form; and by the respect and world-wide reputation of the Festival as a place to flourish as an artist. We tip our hats to you, Mr. Finkel, with much love and admiration.”
Plans to celebrate Dick Finkel’s legacy are being made as part of the 2016 Edmonton International Street Performers Festival this July and will be shared in the near future.
In the meantime, StreetFest is collecting “messages and memories” from the Festival family. As you reflect and remember Mr. Finkel, please share your favourite memories, stories and pictures with us via firstname.lastname@example.org .