News release

Artists Honoured at Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala

Nova Scotia is home to many talented and skilled artists. This evening, Saturday, Nov. 2, they were celebrated for their excellence in artistic achievement at the annual Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala in Halifax.

"We are home to a thriving arts and culture community. It's important we recognize our local artists for their achievements both here at home and on the world stage," said Leo Glavine, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. "I applaud Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council for once again organizing this amazing event."

Two major awards were announced including the Portia White Prize and the Lieutenant Governor's Masterworks Award.

The Portia White Prize recognizes cultural and artistic excellence on the part of a Nova Scotian artist who has attained professional status, mastery and recognition in his or her discipline. The prize was awarded to John Little, a self-taught blacksmith and sculptor from East Dover, Halifax Regional Municipality.

The $25,000 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award, the largest annual award given to any work of art in Nova Scotia, went to Moose Fence, created by Ursula Johnson of Eskasoni.


Throughout my rather long career, I have received tremendous and unwavering support and encouragement from the arts community. Pretty remarkable for a blacksmith who started out making anchors for the fishing industry. In hindsight, everything seems to fit, an odd but very natural organic progression. Almost everything I have managed to do has depended on the depth of talent, passion and commitment I have found here in this wonderful Province of Nova Scotia. John Little, blacksmith, 2019 Portia White Prize award recipient

Forging steel for almost 50 years, the trajectory of John Little's career is nothing short of breathtaking. John's artistic achievements are important because he has dared to go where no artist-blacksmith has gone before, creating imaginative art, dynamic sculpture, and resident sounds from one of the hardest and toughest materials on earth. Andrew Terris, nominated John Little for Portia White prize

Quick Facts:

  • artists were honoured in a number of other award categories: Prix Grand-Pré - Daniel LeBlanc, Digby (more details in additional resources) Established Artist - Carol Bruneau, Ariella Pahlke, both of Halifax Emerging Artist - Amy Brandon, Raven Davis, Lindsay Dobbin, all of Halifax Indigenous Artist - Arielle Twist of Halifax, Creative Community Impact Award - Bus Stop Theatre, Halifax Regional Municipality
  • collectively, the awards are worth $95,000
  • the $25,000 Portia White Prize includes $18,000 to the artist a $7,000 protégé prize that the winning artist donates to an emerging artist or a supportive institution. John Little awarded the Halifax Music Co-op
  • the Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala's 2019 artistic theme is: Make it Ours
  • this year marked the 14th year for the Gala, which is held annually by Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council

Additional Resources:

More information about the awards is available at:

For more information on the Prix Grand-Pré award visit: (French)


Media Contact:

Lynette MacLeod
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