Ottawa Arts Council Announces The 2020 Arts Awards Recipients

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The Ottawa Arts Council announced the final recipient of the highly-anticipated annual Arts Awards today as a week-long social media campaign celebrating the exceptional artists in our community came to a close. This year's laureates included Artistic Director Pier Rodier, Singer-songwriter Rebecca Noelle and musician Asuquomo (aka Morris Ogbowu).

Each year, the Ottawa Arts Council places a call out to the greater arts community to secure nominations for the seven awards distributed annually: The Victor Tolgesy Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of residents who have contributed substantially to enriching cultural life in our city; Peter Honeywell Mid-Career Artist Award, renamed this year in honour of the Council's outgoing Executive Director, and recognizing and encouraging the achievements of Ottawa artists of all disciplines who have evolved beyond the emerging stage in their career to become recognized professional working artists contributing to the community; the RBC Emerging Artist Award, which recognizes the achievements of Ottawa artists who are in the early stages of their career in the arts and are working towards becoming recognized professional artists; and the Project X Photography Award designed to recognize the merits of a publicly presented photographic project by an Ottawa-based artist.

Project-based awards include the Corel Endowment for the Arts Award, a future-oriented award that encourages evolution, innovation, creativity, and excellence of artists working on new initiatives in all art disciplines in Ottawa; and the Young Artist Award which is a mentorship-driven award established to support young Ottawa artists 14 - 17 years old. The Council also recognizes local businesses in the community who have shown great support of the local arts sector through the Business and the Arts Recognition Award.

The 2020 Arts Awards Recipients

  • Victor Tolgesy Award: Pier Rodier, Artistic Director
  • Peter Honeywell Mid-Career Award: Rebecca Noelle, singer-songwriter

Finalist: AM Dumouchel, visual artist

Finalist: Von Allan, comic book artist/writer

  • RBC Emerging Artist Award: Asuquomo (aka Morris Ogbowu), musician

Finalist: Tiffany April, visual artist

Finalist: Zac Pulak, musician

  • Project X Photography Award: John Healey, photographer

Honourable Mention: Christine Fitzgerald, photographer

Honourable Mention: Deanna Pizzitelli, photographer

  • Corel Endowment for the Arts Award: Cheryl Pagurek, visual artist
  • Young Artist Award: Kezia Djungu-Sungu, filmmaker
  • Business and the Arts Award: Dominion City Brewery

Since 1988 the Ottawa Arts Council has awarded more than $300,000 to exceptional artists and to those who have shown outstanding commitment to the arts in the Ottawa community. This year, along with the generous support of award sponsors RBC Foundation, Mann Lawyers, GGFL Chartered Professional Accountants, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO), Artists and Artisans Study Group, and the City of Ottawa, the Council has seen the Awards program grow and adapt to the growing needs of artists in our community.

"This year, we did a thorough review of the awards, placing our focus on whether or not the existing model was best serving our community," says Nicole Milne, Executive Director of the Council. "With adaptations to some awards and through new community partnerships, we've adapted our process to include juries with more diverse backgrounds, and enhanced opportunities for artists that include having the Project X recipient's work exhibited at the Ottawa Art Gallery."

Nominations were evaluated by a jury composed of arts leaders in the community representing different artistic disciplines. In light of the global health crisis, the Annual Awards event originally scheduled for May 5, 2020, has been postponed to later this year, and announcements of the finalists and laureates were unveiled during a week-long social media campaign.


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