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Thursday, February 16, 2012

British Columbia Achievement Awards

James Wright
General Director
On February 13 I attended the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction luncheon, where Charlotte Gill was named winner of this esteemed prize. This was my first time attending these awards. It was a very enlightening and entertaining event, and I learned a lot about authors and subjects that I will pursue further.

The British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction was launched in 2005 “to honour Canada’s finest writers of non-fiction and to celebrate a genre that stimulates our national conversation and shares knowledge about the complex world in which we live.”

This award is sponsored by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, which also sponsors the Community Achievement Award, the Creative Achievement Award for Applied Art and Design, the Creative Achievement Award for First Nations’ Art, and the BC Aboriginal Business Award. The Foundation is governed by a board of outstanding and accomplished British Columbians.

The British Columbia Community Achievement Awards celebrate British Columbians “who go above and beyond in their dedication and service to others and who devote time and energy to making their communities more caring, dynamic, beautiful, healthy, and unique. They inspire by their example.”

The British Columbia Aboriginal Business Awards “celebrate the accomplishments of the province's Aboriginal business sector and its contribution to the economy of British Columbia. These awards honour business acumen in seven categories. An independent jury of Aboriginal business experts reviews the nominations and selects the recipients in accordance with the awards' criteria.”

The Carter Wosk Creative Achievement Awards for Applied Art and Design “celebrate British Columbians who through their creativity contribute to the cultural and economic fabric of the Province. The awards recognize individuals whose work has a practical function. Artists and designers who work in jewelry, glass, wood, fibre, clay and metal or in such areas, but not limited to, textiles, furniture, weaving, ceramics, fashion and industrial design are eligible.”

The Creative Achievement Award for First Nations' Art is “a juried competition celebrating artistic excellence and highlighting the cultural significance of the arts of the First Nations in British Columbia.”

I have attended the Award for First Nations’ Art several times in recent years and always find it very interesting and inspiring, and it always makes me so proud and happy to be living here.

I believe in the value of these awards and the recognition they bestow on people who are making a positive difference in the lives of so many British Columbians and Canadians.  I don’t believe anything similar exists for the performing arts in the province: music, dance, theatre, opera, etc.  While local communities have their various award programs (such as The Jessies for theatre in Metro Vancouver). Financial times are challenging right now and budgets for the arts are stretched. But as the economy improves in the future, perhaps a province-wide award for the performing arts – maybe based on the BC Achievement Foundation model or as a component of the Foundation – should be considered.

- James Wright
General Director, Vancouver Opera

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