$72,000 in Awards to Celebrate Nova Scotia Artists

Tourism, Culture and Heritage (To Jan. 7)

October 18, 2007 11:00 PM

Some of Nova Scotia's most talented and respected artists received $72,000 in awards at the Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala and Conference held Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre near Sydney.

The Portia White Prize, Prix Grand-Pre, and several new awards were presented at the event, hosted by the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council.

"It's been a great day for our province's vibrant arts and culture community," said Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Len Goucher. "What better way to top it off than with a celebration of some of our most talented and promising artists."

"Bringing all these awards together in one event is a wonderful way to raise the profile of arts and culture in Nova Scotia," said Paul Gallant, chair of the Partnership Council. "This is a time to recognize excellence, applaud innovation and celebrate diversity."

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Portia White Prize, one of Nova Scotia's and Canada's most prestigious arts awards. This $25,000 annual award, named after Nova Scotian classical singer Portia White, recognizes an individual who promotes excellence, innovation and expression in the arts.

Premier Rodney MacDonald presented the award to Joleen Gordon, a basketry and textile artisan from Dartmouth. Ms. Gordon has earned an international reputation for preserving and promoting the traditional basketry practices of Nova Scotia.

"Joleen's achievements and involvement in our arts and culture sector are unparalleled and she generously shares her knowledge through teaching and lecturing," said Premier MacDonald. "Throughout her career, she has exemplified the spirit of Portia White and has left an important mark on arts and culture in our province."

The Prix Grand-Pré, an annual award of $2,000 for Acadian Nova Scotian artists, was also awarded at the gala. This prize recognizes artists in the performing arts and film, the visual arts and crafts, and literary arts, whose work reflects Acadian cultural values and traditions, while demonstrating excellence and originality.

This year's winner is Dixacadie, a dance troup from Yarmouth County. This young group of traditional Acadian dancers from the Cindy Comeau School of Dance tell the story of the deportation and celebrate the resilience of the Acadian people through their dance and musical theatre performances.

New awards totaling $45,000 were also presented for the first time at the gala. These annual awards, introduced at last year's event, include the Established Artist Recognition Awards, New Youth Arts Bursaries, and the Community Arts and Culture Recognition Award.

The Established Artist Recognition Awards are presented to five established artists in various disciplines who continue to develop their craft within and outside the province.

This year's recipients, each receiving $5,000, are:

-- Jamie Baxter, a visual artist from Tiverton, Digby Co.;
-- Wanda Graham, an actor and playwright from Sambro, Halifax Regional Municipality;
-- Donna Morrissey, a writer from Halifax;
-- Gwen Noah, a dancer and choreographer from Halifax; and
-- Alain Raimbault, a poet and short story writer from Wilmot, Annapolis Co.

New Youth Arts Bursaries, administered by the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, are presented to promising young artists who experience barriers. Charlotte Wilson-Hammond, chair of the trust, presented six, $500 bursaries to:

-- Maia Bruce of Dartmouth for cello
-- Suzanne Cameron of Halifax for visual arts
-- Lyndsey Gallant of Beaverbank for illustration
-- Sarah Hopkins of Halifax for ballet
-- Jonathan Munro of Truro for voice
-- Tara Lee Reddick of Antigonish for theatre

In addition to these bursaries, $7,000 more will also be invested annually into the Nova Scotia Talent Trust's scholarship program to help support young artists.

The $10,000 Community Arts and Culture Recognition Award celebrates excellence and initiative in incorporating arts and culture into community life and provides a cash infusion to enhance future arts and culture activities.

The winner of the first community award is Annapolis Royal, one of Canada's smallest towns that boasts a renowned community arts model and thriving cultural scene.

Funding for all new awards comes from a portion of the investment interest on the Nova Scotia Arts Endowment Fund. This protects the fund for the long term, while allowing it to facilitate growth of the sector.

All award nominations and submissions were reviewed by external assessment panels or peer juries. More information on the review process and the awards is available through the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership's 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, the council 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:

     More than 70-thousand dollars in awards to some of Nova

Scotia's most talented and respected artists were handed out at

the 2nd Annual Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala and Conference in

Sydney on Thursday (October 18th).

     Premier Rodney MacDonald awarded the twenty-five-thousand-

dollar Portia White Prize to Joleen Gordon, a basketry and

textile artist from Dartmouth.

     The Prix Grand-Pré - an award recognizing Acadian Nova

Scotian artists - went to Dixacadie, a group of young Acadian

dancers from Yarmouth County. Their dance and music tell the

story of the Deportation.

     A number of newly created awards were also announced,

including awards for established artists, youth bursaries and a

community award, which was given to Annapolis Royal.

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Media Contacts: Vicki Fraser
                Tourism, Culture and Heritage
                902-424-7608
                Cell: 902-448-1196
                E-mail: fraserv@gov.ns.ca

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