In 2006, the Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts undertook an extensive, Island-wide consultation process that asked Islanders how they envisioned the future. The responses were clear and among them was a need to recognize excellence, increase the profile of the arts and artists, and on several occasions the need for an “arts awards” was brought up specifically.
The Council responded with a Strategic Plan, “The Creative Isle”, which lists as some of its priorities “In collaboration with the provincial government, develop an annual program for the recognition of professional artists, supporters, and volunteers, illustrating their personal contributions to Island arts and culture” and “Prince Edward Island is seen as an attractive place to base an artistic practice, participate in rich cultural activities, and be part of a skilled community.” and “Create stronger links and collaborations between agencies and departments for the betterment of the arts for all Islanders.”
Such a program also fits well into the existing “A Cultural Policy for Prince Edward Island” which includes the principle “People active in arts, cultural industries and heritage play a significant role in reflecting Prince Edward Island to ourselves and to the world.”
The Plan has received support from Government throughout the planning stages, and the Lieutenant Governor was instrumental in initiating the work as Patron. In additional, the full support of the Board and the steadfast dedication from Laurie McBurney (our Programs and Communications Officer) with support from Jennifer Whitlock (our Administrative Assistant) have all helped to make this come to fruition.
The project is in the soft launch phase and the web site (http://www.peiartsawards.ca/) is up now and fully functional. All the details of the awards can be found there.
For this inaugural year there are five, non-discipline specific, awards:
the Premier’s Award for Volunteerism in the Arts
the Lt. Governor’s Award for Patron of the Arts
the Minister of Education’s Award for Educator in the Arts
the Minister Responsible for Culture’s Award for Creative Community and
the Father Adrien Arsenault Senior Arts Award.
Recipients of the awards will be given cash and in-kind contributions from both the Council and the Government.
In 2011, the Council hopes to add an award for the Emerging Artist of the Year and looks forward to sponsorship from the business sector.
The success of the Biennial Awards will contribute to creating a considerably higher profile for the arts and their importance on Prince Edward Island.
Nominations can be made using the forms available on the website. If you have someone in mind for any of these awards, nominate them right now. You all must be able to think of an art teacher, or volunteer who’s touched you with their commitment. Does your community go out of its way to encourage or foster the arts? Please, nominate it. Have you been part of a project or event that was sponsored by a person or business? Nominate them. An important criterion for the success of this initiative will be the degree of interest from the community.
Nominations close March 20th.