THUNDER BAY, ON ---- June 16, 2010 ---- The 2010 Thunder Bay Arts & Heritage Awards were held on Tuesday, June 15 at Magnus Theatre, to celebrate the excellence, achievements, and support within the local cultural sector. 26 nominees were honoured at the awards event, 10 of which received awards ranging from cash prizes of $1,000 to works of art by local artists.
Awards were presented in 10 categories to the following recipients:
Visual Art – Keith Ailey
Keith Ailey is a visual artist, passionate art teacher at Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute, and proud Lakehead University graduate. His passion for the outdoors is visible in his original paintings, and Keith's stunning art and dedication earned him a Trustee Recognition Award from Lakehead Public Schools and the People's Choice Award from Thunder Bay Art Gallery's Regional Juried Exhibition. Keith's artistic talent and efforts to give back to the community make him a role model to his students, colleagues, and the arts community.
Performing & Media Art – Lee Chambers
Lee Chambers is a well-respected filmmaker and instructor for the Confederation College Film Department. Lee has developed an award-winning track record of presenting professional and educational film workshops at film festivals, media colleges and universities on a local, national, and international scale. Lee attracted international attention with his 'Make It Short' Film Project, a mix between a professional shoot and a mentoring program that offers real film set experience and education on the art of film and video production for over 350 participants.
Heritage – Thunder Mountain Singers
The Thunder Mountain Singers are international recording artists from Thunder Bay, who have traveled throughout North America over the past 20 years with inspiring performances that express traditional teachings and educate audiences on First Nation heritage. The late Margaret Pierre gave the group its drum name and envisioned that through the drum, the First Nation youth would return to their traditional culture. The group has served as the Host Drum for numerous communities and plays a key role in revitalizing heritage and culture in First Nation communities throughout the city and region.
Cultural Organization – Willow Springs Creative Centre
Willow Springs Creative Centre is a non-profit organization with creative-based programming for people of all ages and abilities. Grown out of the Willow Springs Artisan Gift Store and Studio in 2006, the organization also provides therapeutic gardening for youth and adults facing all types of challenges. Their contribution to groups such as the Ontario March of Dimes, Sister Margaret Smith Centre, and Mushkiki Health Centre is inspiring, bringing value and creativity by hiring local artists to develop healing programs and promote personal growth.
Emerging Youth Artist – Brandi Fiala
Brandi Fiala has begun to develop an impressive portfolio as an emerging artist and student at Westgate Collegiate & Vocational Institute. She is admired by her peers and teachers as an exceptional artist with a unique talent and willingness to help other students grow as artists too. Brandi's art been chosen to display her art at the annual High School Art Show at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery for the past three years.
Cultural Educator – Christie Parry
Christie Parry joined the Thunder Bay Historical Museum nearly seven years ago and has exhibited constant innovation in her teaching style and program offerings for school children, local seniors and community groups. Christie's effort to educate others on the value of arts and heritage in our daily lives is remarkable, and she has certainly made an impressive contribution to the museum and local school boards by revitalizing the children's programming to fit the new Ontario Curriculum.
Cultural Supporter – Fran Loney
volunteers tirelessly to support and promote the value of local heritage at the Founders' Museum. Since 1999, Fran has dedicated approximately 4,000 volunteer hours per year as the unpaid Manager of the museum. Under Fran's administration, the Founders' Museum has expanded significantly, not only physically with added buildings and exhibits, but in resources including programming, advertising, and administrative capacity. Fran works diligently to ensure that audiences of all ages can appreciate and take part in a unique experience of local heritage.
Cultural Business – Ahnisnabae Art Gallery
The Ahnisnabae Art Gallery was founded in 1997 by the late Roy Thomas. Roy's wife, Louise Thomas, has since expanded from Roy's studio to a gallery that showcases work from various Aboriginal youth and established artists as a way of honouring her husband's legacy and commitment to traditional teachings. Louise was awarded the NeeChee Achievement Award at the 2008 NADF Business Awards in Timmons, Ontario, and the Career Guidance Award at the 2009 Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Youth Achievement & Recognition Awards in Thunder Bay.
Large Business – The Chronicle Journal
This year’s recipient is closely tied to the awards event, as the past event sponsor and avid supporter of the cultural sector. The Chronicle-Journal has been a significant contributor and supporter of arts and heritage in Thunder Bay for decades, and played a major role in developing and sponsoring the Chronicle-Journal Prizes for Arts & Heritage (now evolved into the Thunder Bay Arts & Heritage Awards). Additional contribution to the cultural sector includes sponsorship for the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, and continuous financial and in-kind support for numerous community groups and events. The Chronicle-Journal, under the management of Colin Bruce, generously and continuously contributes to the promotion of local arts and heritage, and plays a key role in elevating the profile of the local cultural sector.
Small Business – The Painted Turtle Art Shop
The Painted Turtle Art Shop is a long-standing business in Thunder Bay, spoken highly of throughout the arts community. Formerly owned by local artist Ruth Tye McKenzie, the Painted Turtle is now owned and operated by businesswomen and artists, Lorraine Cull and Angela Jansen, and is comprised of an art supplies shop, the Rainge Gallery and an art class studio space, all adding to the culture of city's north downtown core. The gallery and studio space exhibits local and regional artists' work and offer fine arts classes featuring local artists and programming for children. Both Angela and Lorraine have been highly involved in initiatives such as Art Zoom, Harbour Arts Festival, and Art in the Park at the Summer in the Parks concert series, thanks to the success of their business.