Province Announces Finalists for Prestigious Portia White Prize

Tourism, Culture and Heritage (To Jan. 7)

October 12, 2007 3:15 PM

Three talented and respected Nova Scotian artists have been selected as finalists for the 2007 Portia White Prize, Premier Rodney MacDonald announced today, Oct. 12.

The $25,000 annual award is named after Nova Scotian classical singer Portia White and is one of the most prestigious arts awards in Canada, promoting excellence, innovation and expression in the arts.

"The finalists for this year's Portia White Prize have all excelled in their disciplines and left an important mark on arts and culture in our province," said Premier MacDonald, who will announce the winner at the Creative Nova Scotia conference and awards gala being held at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre in Sydney on Thursday, Oct. 18.

A peer jury, comprised of five leaders in cultural development from across the province, reviewed more than a dozen nominations for this year's award and selected the following three finalists.

–- Joleen Gordon, a basketry and textile artisan from Dartmouth, skillfully combines her masterful artistry with her passion for preserving and promoting the traditional basketry practices of Nova Scotia. Although she is the only artisan replicating archaic basketry and textiles of Atlantic Canada, she generously shares her knowledge through teaching and lecturing.

-- John Little, a blacksmith and sculptor from East Dover, Halifax Regional Municipality, whose original approach to his medium has led to a body of work that inspires curiosity and lateral thinking. This self-taught artist is known for his passion of the forging process and his dedication to teaching, mentoring and jurying exhibitions in Canada and New England.

–- Alan Syliboy, a visual artist from Truro, who combines contemporary artistic practices with traditional Mi'kmaq imagery to create his paintings, prints, murals and sculptures. Mr. Syliboy is a respected advocate for First Nations' artists and spends much of his time teaching and mentoring hundreds of children, youth and emerging artists.

Past Portia White Prize winners include writer and poet George Elliot Clarke, musician and conductor Georg Tinter, visual artist Gary Neil Kennedy, writer Alistair MacLeod, filmmaker Sylvia Hamilton, visual artist Charlotte Wilson-Hammond, theatre artists Jim Morrow and Walter Borden, and visual artist Wayne Boucher.

In addition to the Portia White Prize, the Prix Grand-Pre and a suite of newly established awards will also be presented at the awards gala. Members of the arts and culture community interested in attending the event are urged to register by Monday, Oct. 15. Information and registration forms are available on the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council website at www.nsacpc.com .

The Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council was established in 2003. In consultation with the arts and culture sector, it provides advice and recommendations to guide the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage regarding ongoing investment in Nova Scotia's artists, cultural industries and cultural activities.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Three talented and respected Nova Scotian artists have been

announced as finalists for the 2007 Portia White Prize.

     Named after Nova Scotian classical singer, the prize is one

of the most prestigious arts awards in Nova Scotia and Canada,

promoting excellence, innovation and expression.

     Premier Rodney MacDonald says the finalists have all

excelled in their disciplines and left an important mark on the

province's art and culture.

     The winner of the 25-thousand-dollar prize will be announced

by Premier MacDonald at the Creative Nova Scotia conference and

awards gala being held at the Membertou Trade and Convention

Centre in Sydney on Thursday (October 18th).

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Media Contact: Vicki Fraser
              Tourism, Culture and Heritage
              902-424-7608
              E-mail: fraserv@gov.ns.ca

              Paul Gallant
              Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council
              902-224-5340
              E-mail: leconseildesartspaul@ns.sympatico.ca