Monday, 13 July 2015

Music Sweeps Provincial Annual Arts Awards

Pam Hall is the inductee to the Fortis Hall of Honour.

Last Friday the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council held its 30th annual arts awards ceremony in the auditorium of The Rooms. St. John's.  This competition pits the seven disciplines of the professional arts against each other, meaning that artists and organizations in dance, theatre, film, writing, visual arts, music and multidisciplinary media vie for achievement awards.  All awards are commemorated with a specially commissioned work of art and, except for Patron of the Arts, with a $2,500 cheque.  This year is also the NLAC's 35th anniversary and tomorrow the new logo for the council will be released.

The evening held few surprises in terms of award winners if only because all of the finalists were worthy nominees.  These names were released back in June and if you'd like to know more, here's a link to the full list:

For the sake of brevity, here are the six winners:  Fortis Properties Arts Hall of Honour Award: Eastern Edge (visual/organization); Fortis Properties Arts Hall of Honour Award: Pam Hall (visual artist); CBC Emerging Artist Award: Aaron Collis & Emilia Bartellas (music); Memorial University Arts in Education Award: Grant Etchegary (music); Patron of the Arts Awards: John O'Dea; Cox & Palmer Arts Achievement Award: Jim Duff (music): BMO Bank of Montreal Artist of the Year Award: Deanne Foley (film).

Grant Etchegary is widely known in the province
for his leadership with youth orchestras in the province.

What piqued my interest was how the awards ceremony had changed from last year, especially in light of the belt-tightening we all have been feeling with the reduction of oil revenues in the province and the general atmosphere of an election looming. 

The NLAC is still rotating its awards ceremony to different regions, which makes good sense in terms of representing its constituency.  Last year it was held in Clarenville and next it will be out west.  In past years, the awards ceremony was treated to more lavish production with live music and elaborate staging.  What remained were the CBC created videos honouring each of the winners and of course comments from involved parties and winners.  It was still a feel good event but a fiscally responsible one.

Being recognized for your contribution to the cultural life of your home province is perhaps more strategic when financial times are strained.  In the life of an artist, most times are financially tight but every once in a while it is down right necessary to receive validation just in order to keep going.  Even receiving a commission to create the small sculptures this year must have been a tremendous boost to carver Elias Semiak.  In my books, he too is a winner.  If I was a recipient, I'd make sure that I was first at the NLAC offices to choose my sculpture.  All of them are different.  Early bird gets first choice.
The musical duo of Aaron Collis & Emilia Bartellas won Emerging Artist beating out
 two visual artists– Ally Baird and Audrey Hurd.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post. I've been thinking about writing a very comparable post over the last couple of weeks, I'*probably keep it short and sweet and link to this instead if thats cool. Thanks. free music to download