Exceptiononal artists and a bookstore honoured at gala event

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Premier Wynne at the 10th annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts event.

Winners of the 10th annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts were honoured at an event at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Wednesday night. The awards were presented by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

The awards program recognizes outstanding artists and arts organizations for their contributions to Ontario’s vibrant arts and culture sector. This year, two of the three winners are Indigenous artists.

Wynne said:”Ontario’s art sector reflects the drive, talent and diversity of our province. I am honoured to recognize the outstanding winners and finalists of the 10th annual Premier’s Awards for their passion, dedication and commitment to excellence. Thank you for enriching our daily lives and inspiring us all.”

Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, added: “The winners of this year’s Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts exemplify the talent, passion and vitality that Ontario’s arts community is known for. Congratulations on this well-deserved honour, and thank you for all you do to inspire us, challenge us and bring beauty to our lives.”

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Visual artist from Esapanola

Christi Belcourt, a Métis visual artist from Espanola, won the Individual Artist Award. Like generations of Indigenous artists before her, Belcourt’s work celebrates the beauty of the natural world while exploring its symbolic properties.

Christian Chapman, an Anishinaabe visual artist and filmmaker from Fort William First Nation, was honoured as Emerging Artist of the Year. His two-dimensional mixed-media artwork fuses elements of computer-manipulated images, painting, drawing and printmaking.

A Different Booklist, an independent bookstore and literary cultural destination in Toronto, won the Arts Organization Award. A Different Booklist is respected nationally and internationally for its specialty in books by African-Canadian and Caribbean writers.

  • The Premier’s Awards are open to artists and arts organizations engaged in any professional arts practice in Ontario whose artistic work or service spans a significant period of time.
  • The awards are administered by the Ontario Arts Council. Winners are selected by jury, and the Emerging Artist of the Year is chosen by the winner of the Individual Artist Award.
  • The winning artist receives a $35,000 prize and selects an emerging artist who receives a $15,000 prize. The winning arts organization is awarded $50,000.
  • The culture sector adds more than $25 billion to Ontario’s economy each year and generates about 280,000 jobs.
  • Nominations for the 2017 awards are being accepted until December 1, 2016. All Ontarians are invited to submit a nomination.
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Inspiring works

Rita Davies, Chair, Ontario Arts Council, said: “Congratulations to Christi Belcourt, A Different Booklist, and Christian Chapman on receiving the 10th annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Each of this year’s winners shows how the arts can bring together communities, draw attention to crucial issues, and inspire us to see the world from new perspectives. My thanks to them, and all of this year’s finalists, for their outstanding work.”

Wynne said in her Facebook post: The path an artist takes through life is rarely an easy one. But we benefit so much from the fact that so many people in Ontario do follow their heart into the visual arts, music, literature, photography, dance — or any of the disciplines that make up Ontario’s thriving arts and culture scene. Tonight, at the 10th Annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, I had a chance to say thank you. Thank you to the artists and visionaries who reinterpret our shared memories and reimagine our shared future. You are all community builders. Thank you to the parents who support your children in following their dreams, whatever they might be. Thank you to the Indigenous artists who are giving a new generation hope for the future and connecting them to their past. And thank you to tonight’s 3 winners – Christi Belcourt, Christian Chapman and A Different Booklist.” – CINEWS

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