The Premier’s Awards

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Yesterday I attended the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts where Ontario’s Ministry of Culture and the Ontario Arts Council honour Ontario artists and arts organizations. The event was held at the Wychwood Barns.  Two years ago, Artscape took over the old Wychwood Toronto Transit streetcar repair barns and transformed them into a community centre where artists can live and work affordably. It is a terrific venue. Artscape was one of the organizations recognized last night for their contribution to our ats community. They have done similar projects in Toronto’s Distillery District and Liberty Village. The other organizations that were honoured were V Tape, one of the largest not-for-profit video art distributors in the world that makes its collection of 4300 contemporary art works accessible to all; ImagineNATIVE film and Media Festival that runs in Toronto every October; Harbourfront Centre that presents more than 4,000 programs annually; the Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium that is 15 years old this year; and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre that is the fastest growing theatre company in Toronto. The individual artists honoured last night were poet A.F.Moritz, media artist Ron Mann, performer/choreographer Ahdri Shina Mandiela of b current and the rock.paper.sistahz festival, comic playwright Norm Foster, composer/conductor and NEXUS friend Gary Kulesha, and composer/producer Lydia Adams who conducts both the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choir and with whom NEXUS has performed several times. It was a particular pleasure to see Gary and Lydia receive this well-deserved recognition. The grand award winners from among these 12 finalists were Artscape and Ron Mann. Mann is acclaimed internationally for his documentary films, has created a distribution company for independent films in Canada and is a leader in the preservation of Canadian film and television archives, an area that is of current interest to NEXUS as we grapple with the preservation of our extensive audiovisual archives from the past 30-plus years! Congratulations to all the honourees and thank you for your inspiring work!

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