The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts recognize outstanding achievements by Ontario’s artists and arts organizations. The awards are open to artists and arts organizations engaged in any professional arts practice in Ontario whose artistic work or service spans a minimum of 10 years.
The awards are divided into two categories:
Arts Organization Award:
The six finalists in each category will be announced in spring 2014.
Lydia Adams is the conductor and artistic director of the Amadeus Choir and the Elmer Iseler Singers. The Canadian Music Centre hailed Ms. Adams as “the leading exponent of the Canadian choral composer” and she has dedicated her career to the growth of Canadian choral music. Her choirs are national leaders in commissioning, premiering, performing and recording Canadian choral works. She has worked with many celebrated Canadian composers, premiering and promoting their works in Canada and internationally, through concerts, touring, recording and broadcasts.
This year’s Artist Award laureate Lydia Adams selected choral masterJoel Tranquilla of Windsor to receive the Emerging Artist Award.
Definitely Superior Art Gallery is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit multidisciplinary artist-run centre for the contemporary arts. The gallery features a dynamic visual and interdisciplinary expansion of the "new" in contemporary arts and culture that stimulates both artists and audiences. Its mandate goes beyond presenting visual art exhibitions and extends into diverse multi-disciplinary programming that identifies, encourages and supports regional, national and international artists. Over 25 years, Definitely Superior has presented more than 800 exhibitions, events and activities and has supported almost 12,000 multi-disciplinary artists. It is now home to one of the largest new generation youth art collectives in Ontario.
For 50 years, Iain Baxter&, a conceptual artist, has boldly gone where no one has gone before, integrating photography, installation, sculpture, painting, drawing and performing aspects into his work. The artist, who pronounces his surname “Baxter-and”, believes strongly in the collaboration between his art and the viewer. In awarding him the Canadian Council for the Arts Molson Prize, the prize jury stated, “His art has made us question, laugh, re-examine and think. He is one of society’s greatest innovators.” He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and the Order of British Columbia.
Jane Bunnett is an internationally acclaimed flutist, saxophonist, pianist and composer who has built her career at the crossroads between Cuban music and jazz. She is the recipient of multiple JUNO Awards, a Canadian Urban Music Award, the Order of Canada, an honourary doctorate from Queen’s University and a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has also been nominated twice for Grammy Awards in the Best Latin Jazz Album category. Ms. Bunnett’s exploration of Afro-Cuban melodies and traditional jazz expresses the universality of music. She marked the 30th anniversary of her Canadian-Cuban collaborations in 2012.
Charlie Foran is an author, journalist, teacher and President of PEN Canada. He has published 10 books, including four novels, and regularly contributes to magazines and newspapers. He is a contributing reviewer for The Globe and Mail and has won awards for his fiction, non-fiction and journalism. Mr. Foran has created radio documentaries for the CBC program Ideas, and co-wrote the TV documentary Mordecai Richler: The Last of the Wild Jews. A senior fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, he divides his time between Toronto and Peterborough.
Micah Lexier is a visual artist and curator. He is intrigued by measurement, games, puzzles, found imagery and the casual marks we make in our daily lives. He has had more than 100 solo exhibitions, almost 200 group exhibitions and produced a dozen permanent public commissions, including one in Leslie subway station in Toronto. Mr. Lexier has worked with a number of visual artists and writers, including Booker Prize finalist Colm Tóibín and Griffin Poetry Prize winner Christian Bök. Mr. Lexier’s work can be seen in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada and the British Museum.
Shelley Niro is a Mohawk painter, filmmaker and photographer. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and received her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Western Ontario. Ms. Niro is known for her photography, which often combines portraits of contemporary Aboriginal women with traditional Mohawk imagery. Her photographic series This Land Is Mime Land and 500 Year Itch employ humorous pop culture references to Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. In 2012, Ms. Niro became the first laureate to receive the Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award.
2013 Premier’s Awards Arts Organization Award Finalists
Authors at Harbourfront Centre (AUTHORS) promotes a dynamic exchange between authors and audiences of all ages. Showcasing Canadian and international writers, it has celebrated more than 8,000 authors from more than 100 countries on its stages, including 20 Nobel Laureates, through readings, interviews and roundtable discussions. From modest beginnings in 1974, AUTHORS now comprises the Weekly Reading Series, the world-renowned International Festival of Authors (IFOA), the popular IFOA Ontario, which tours authors to small communities across the province and the programs ALOUD and YoungIFOA, which foster Ontario schoolchildren’s love of reading and writing.
The Blyth Festival was founded in 1975 to produce professional theatre that reflects Canadian culture. At that time, the Festival was the only summer theatre producing original Canadian plays and one of the very few, if not the only, 500-seat theatre in Canada producing Canadian plays exclusively. Now in its 39th season, the company has developed and premiered over 118 new Canadian works written by playwrights from every region of the country. The Festival plays a major role in the business life of the village and the tourism industry in Huron County.
Sudbury’s Éditions Prise de parole, the doyen of Ontario’s French-language publishing houses, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The quality of the 325 titles by more than 150 authors that it has published has built it nation-wide recognition. By being committed to continually and patiently building a catalogue of strong, memorable works that reflects its world, the firm has turned “the nickel capital” into a literary capital with a “face” and “mood” that are now indelible. It continues to spread the wealth of literary creation and scholarly works by French Canada’s authors and researchers.
SKETCH is a community-arts development initiative that creates opportunities in the arts for young people from across Canada who are living homeless and on the margins of society. SKETCH gives people the opportunity to experience the transformative power of the arts, develop their leadership and self-sufficiency and cultivate social and environmental change through the arts. SKETCH offers self-directed time to study, connections to mentorship and apprenticeships in the arts industry, support for a career in the arts and jobs facilitating workshops and programs.
The Toronto Fringe provides creative opportunities for artists and audiences by producing two important festivals – the Toronto Fringe Festival and the Next Stage Theatre Festival. It also runs outreach activities that benefit youth, artists and the theatre community at large. The Toronto Fringe is excited to be celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary in a new home, the Fringe Creation Lab. The new building welcomes independent artists year-round, encouraging the creative work they do by offering affordable space to make art, congregate and innovate.