WAC Arts Awards Nominations for 2016

The Winnipeg Arts Council was proud to honour the 2016 Winnipeg Arts Council Award Nominees. This year’s nominees came from a wide range of disciplines and reflected the diverse nature of the Winnipeg Arts Scene. The nominees were celebrated at the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts, which took place Friday, June 24th at the Fairmont Hotel. 

This year’s luncheon was hosted by Trish Cooper, with special guest speaker Julie Nagam.

Find out more about the Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts here.


Five awards recognize excellence and creativity in, and contribution, to the arts: the RBC On the Rise Award; the Making a Mark Award; the Investors Group Making a Difference Award; the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Volunteer IMPACT Award; and the Arts Champion Award.

RBC On the Rise

Sonya Ballantyne

Sonya Ballantyne is an emerging Winnipeg filmmaker and activist, committed to raising the profile of indigenous women and girls and telling their stories through film.

Nominated by National Screen Institute.

Jaime Black

Jaime Black is a Métis multidisciplinary artist whose practice engages in themes of memory, identity, place and resistance.

Nominated by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art.

Jessica Gibson

Jessica is a talented film, documentary and television producer whose work has delighted audiences across Canada and around the world. Jessica is also the Production Manager at Media Rendezvous.

Nominated by Ashley Hirt.

Sean McLachlan

Sean McLachlan is a Winnipeg-based artist whose work focuses on the power of place. Sean blends together fine arts, cartography and furniture design.

Nominated by Martha Street Studio.

Heather Russell

Heather Russell is a gifted young actor and producer who has already built up an impressive body of work. Her sense of humour, intelligence and depth of emotion makes her a theatre creator of great promise.

Nominated by zone41 Theatre.

BJ Verot

BJ Verot is an emerging Winnipeg filmmaker who is best known for his award-winning short films; Loss of Contact, Meteorite Before Prom Night, and Chopin's Heart, which screened at Cannes.

Nominated by Ken Janssens.

Making a Mark

Rick Chafe

Rick Chafe is a prolific playwright and Governor General's Award nominee. As well as being a successful playwright with productions in several other cities, Rick is a mentor, dramaturg and ambassador of Manitoba’s playwriting community.

Nominated by Prairie Theatre Exchange’s Playwrights Unit.

Cliff Eyland

In a career spanning over thirty years, Cliff Eyland has created thousands of tiny paintings, mentored countless students, been awarded significant public art commissions, curated important exhibitions, and generously and consistently supported the local art community.

Nominated by Erica Mendritzki and Ufuk Gueray.

Kegan McFadden

Kegan McFadden has shown unparalleled energy, enthusiasm and inventiveness for connecting artists and audiences through his curation of exhibitions and publication of critical texts that are intersectional and cross-cultural.

Nominated by Gallery 1C03.

Peter Quanz

Peter Quanz has made an enormous contribution to Winnipeg through his artistry and leadership. He uses his artistic practice to draw people together and encourages the highest level of artistic achievement on the world stage.

Nominated by Stephanie Ballard.

Making a Difference

Neila Benson

Neila Benson is the Executive Director of Film Training Manitoba and has decades of experience as a passionate and dedicated supporter of the Winnipeg Arts Community.

Nominated by Adam Smoluk and Alison Bile.

Clarise Foster

At the heart of Winnipeg's writing community for over two decades, Clarise Foster, editor-in-chief for Canada's longest running poetry magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, is a devoted, tireless, enthusiastic advocate and champion of poetry in Winnipeg.

Nominated by Jennifer Still.

Merit Jensen Carr

Hugely generous with her knowledge, talent, time and leadership, film and television producer Merit Jensen Carr has made a substantial difference in the lives of numerous Winnipeg filmmakers and artists.

Nominated by Erna Buffie.

Randy Joynt

Randy Joynt is the Executive Director of Artspace. His enthusiastic commitment to arts and culture as a dancer, dance teacher, administrator and volunteer spans thirty years.

Nominated by  Artspace.

Shawna Dempsey, Dana Kletke

As outstanding co-directors of MAWA, independent artists with successful careers and valued volunteers in the community, Shawna Dempsey and Dana Kletke have lent support to innumerable artists in Winnipeg.

Nominated by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art.

Cherry Karpyshin

Cherry retired in December after fifty years of outstanding service in Winnipeg's art community. In her thirty-four years as a mentor and leader at Prairie Theatre Exchange, Cherry exemplified the perfect balance between fiscal judgment and artistic expression.

Nominated by Prairie Theatre Exchange.

Monica Lowe

For her visionary outlook, passion and hard work on behalf of filmmakers and the artistic community and establishing the Winnipeg Film Group Distribution as a world class Centre for Winnipeg filmmaker's works.

Nominated by Dave Barber.

Harry Strub

Harry Strub is the founder of Virtuosi Concerts.  His vision, passion and boundless energy has ensured Winnipeg is a destination for the world's finest classical artists and has provided dynamic performance opportunities for countless Winnipeg musicians.

Nominated by Virtuosi Concerts.

Outstanding Volunteer Award

Sandra  Brown and Brenna George

For the past seven years, Sandra Brown and Brenna George have planned and facilitated the Artist Mothers at MAWA where members find support, education, work critiques and exhibition opportunities

Nominated by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art.

Charles Leblanc

Charles LeBlanc is a tireless advocate for the Franco-Manitoban literary and theatre community. His time and expertise have been foundational in creating the thriving francophone program component of THIN AIR.

Nominated by The Winnipeg International Writers Festival.

Pat & Bob Migliore

Pat and Bob are truly exemplary volunteers and have worked hard through rain or shine, mud or mosquitos with Shakespeare in the Ruins for all of its twenty-three years.

Nominated by Shakespeare in the Ruins.

Arts Champion

Elmer Hildebrand

Elmer is long over-due recognition for his quiet, generous and continued support of the Winnipeg and Manitoba arts scene. He has taken an active role in the creation and dissemination of classical music in this city.             

Nominated by The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

View WAC Arts Award Winners