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City of Vancouver celebrates artists at 2012 Mayor's Arts Awards

2012 Vancouver Book Award winner W.H. New reading from his collection of poetry, YVR. Photo by Beth Hong.

The 2012 Mayor's Arts Awards honoured twenty five established and emerging Vancouver-based artists at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre on Thursday evening.

"Arts and culture are a vital part of this city," said Mayor Gregor Robertson at the event. Robertson was thanked by many of the artists accepting awards.

Sarah Shamash and Amiel Gladstone, recipients of the 2012-2015 Artist Live/Work Studio Awards. Photo by Beth Hong for The Vancouver Observer.

Amiel Gladstone was especially glad that arts and culture was on city hall's priority list. The playwright and theatre director was one of four recipients of the Artist Live-Work Studio Awards for 2012 to 2015.

"Especially with the way real estate prices are in the city, I was having questions about whether I could stay in Vancouver as an artist, and so the award came at the perfect time," Gladstone said.  "I knew I could live and work and create art for the next three years."

"I travel a lot for work, and when I talk about it in other cities, they say 'Why don't we have that in our cities?'--so the idea is spreading," he added.

The Awards also recognized Vancouver residents who contributed to the arts community through volunteerism, business support, philanthropy, lifetime achievement, and serving on the arts board.

2012 Mayor's Arts Awards literary arts honourees William New and emerging artist Onjana Yawnghwe. Photo by Beth Hong for The Vancouver Observer.

For the first time the City also awarded the 2012 Vancouver Book Award at the ceremony. W.H. New won this year's award for his poetry collection YVR. He was also selected as this year's honouree recipient for the Literary Arts.

Each established artist who won this year chose an emerging artist in his or her field. The city awards both artists $2,500 each.

New chose as his emerging artist Onjana Yawnghwe, a writer born in Thailand who escaped from Burma in the 1970s. She has been published in journals, anthologies, and collaborated with JackPine Press to produce the chapbook The Imaginary Lives of Buster Keaton.

The winners list (emerging artists in brackets):

Performing Arts: 

  • Rosario Ancer (Kiruthika Rathanaswami) for dance
  • John Korsrud (Eli Bennett) for music
  • Donna Spencer (Anita Rochon) for theatre

Studio Arts:

  • Yvonne Wakabayashi (Soledad Muñoz) for craft and design
  • Robert Clark (Merri Schwartz) for culinary arts
  • Loretta Sarah Todd (Christopher Auchter) for film and new media
  • W.H. New (Onjana Yawnghwe) for literary arts
  • Jim Breukelman (Hua Jin) for visual arts
  • The late Jerry Pethick (Samuel Roy-Bois) for public art
  • David Diamond (Amanda Nahanee) for community engaged art 

Support of the Arts:

  • Michael Audain for philanthropy
  • Erik Graff for volunteerism
  • Sharman King and the Book Warehouse for business support
  • Catherine Van Alstine for arts board member of the year. 

Lifetime Achievement: The late Tom Cone, who was an influential playwright, librettist and arts advocate.

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