WAC Arts Awards Nominations for 2018

The Winnipeg Arts Council is pleased to announce the exceptional nominees for the 2018 Winnipeg Arts Council awards. Find out who will win at The Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts, taking place Thursday, June 7th, at the Fort Garry Hotel.

This is our moment to champion our incredible arts community, from the up-and-coming artist to the pillars of our city. Each nominee, in their own unique way, has contributed to the health and vibrancy of Winnipeg, and we are thrilled to honour them.

Mayor Brian Bowman will recognize the contributions our artists bring to Winnipeg by his opening remarks and presentation of the awards. Ify Chiwetelu and Trevor Dineen from CBC's Radio’s Now or Never will host, and we will be privileged to hear from poet and spoken word artist Chimwemwe Undi. As always, the ceremony will be a showcase of some of the finest artists of Winnipeg.  We look forward to the passionate Sher-e-Punjab Bhangra Club dancers and the warm and dynamic jazz of Suzanne Kennelly and Friends.

Winnipeg’s first Poet Laureate, Di Brandt, will perform an original poem written just for the occasion, and we are thrilled to close the event in style with the Indigenous drum group, the Buffalo Gals.

Five awards will be presented to recognize excellence and creativity in and contribution to the arts: the RBC On the Rise Award, the Making a Mark Award, the Making a Difference Award, the Outstanding Volunteer Award and the Arts Champion Award.

Congratulations to all the nominees. We celebrate this diverse group of artists, who contribute to an incredibly wide variety of disciplines, and in turn infuse Winnipeg with their creativity, dedication and commitment.  We are grateful for the many ways each of you enrich our city.

-     Carol A. Phillips, Executive Director, Winnipeg Arts Council


Find out more about the 2018 Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts here.

RBC On the Rise

Photo credit Mariana Muñoz Gomez

Noor Bhangu

Noor is an emerging curator and writer. Her research and presentations are devastatingly urgent, exploring questions of historical violence, representation, and collections through her research in diaspora, museum collection histories, and curation as communication.

Nominated by aceartinc.

Photo credit Caitlin Spencer

Jodi Carmichael

Jodi Carmichael, a Young Adult author, has been quietly gaining steam, garnering awards and publishing credits while promoting literacy to the youth she's made it her vocation to write for.

Nominated by Carolyn Gray.

Michael Joyal

Michael Joyal’s mix of discipline, generosity and creative passion are complemented by a variety of skills; illustrating books, painting and assembling art, all while helping artists achieve success in their practice.

Nominated by At Bay Press.

Photo credit A Marie Photography

Niki Little / Wabiska Maengun

Niki Little / Wabiska Maengun is an emerging curator interested in resurgence practices of engagement, responsibility and relationship building for Indigenous communities that focus on cultural economies/consumption and creating space for Indigenous women. 

Nominated by Dave Barber.

Kaya Wheeler

As an emerging Anishinabe artist, arts administrator and volunteer, Kaya is committed to creating positive change for Indigenous people in her community.

Nominated by National Screen Institute.

Making a Mark

Photo credit Kristen Sawtzky

Brenda McLean

Brenda McLean is a multidisciplinary artist who has dedicated her career to continuous learning, experimenting, and creation. She has directed, created, performed in and designed theatre productions for 20 years.

Nominated by Theatre by the River & Theatre Incarnate .

Freya Björg Olafson

Freya Björg Olafson is an innovator and experimental artist who has made a mark with her exhibition, performance and collaborative work both in Winnipeg and around the world.

Nominated by Video Pool Media Arts Centre.

John Paskievich

The films and photographs of John Paskievich lyrically celebrate the dignity and humanity of outsiders. With an international reputation, Paskievich's work continues to return to his home neighbourhood, the North End, and its values. 

Nominated by University of Manitoba Press & Merit Motion Pictures.

Ellen Peterson

As playwright, and dramaturg for MAP and elsewhere, Ellen Peterson has had a significant influence on the theatre community in Winnipeg and across Canada. Her dedication to her fellow artists, and encouragement to younger ones, is tireless. 

Nominated by Rory Runnells and Prairie Theatre Exchange.

Photo credit Bernie Miller

Jeanne Randolph

Jeanne Randolph is a multidisciplinary writer and artist. Her prolific and long-term practice has opened new avenues of critical discourse.

Nominated by Platform Centre for Photographic & Digital Arts.

Making a Difference

crys cole

As long-time director of send + receive, and maintaining an internationally-recognized personal practice, crys cole has proven to be pivotal both to Winnipeg's audio, and the greater arts community. 

Nominated by send+receive : a festival of sound.

Angela Heck

Through her 30-year career as an actor, filmmaker, arts administrator and advocate, and mentor, Angela's passion for the arts in Winnipeg is as unflagging as her infectious energy. 

Nominated by Madison Thomas.

Alexander Mickelthwate

Alexander Mickelthwate is a world-renowned orchestral conductor who has made a significant difference to the music and arts community in Winnipeg.

Nominated by Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Louis Ogemah

As one of the founders of Urban Shaman, Louis Ogemah has been instrumental in bringing to the forefront contemporary Indigenous art practice to the Winnipeg Arts Community.

Nominated by Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery.

Keith Oliver

As a respected artist + craftsperseon, tireless advocate, builder, networker + exceptionally generous volunteer + board member, Keith Oliver has poured his time, labour + love into the Winnipeg Arts Community for over 40 years.

Nominated by Manitoba Craft Council.

Photo credit Winnipeg Free Press

Jennifer Smith

If there's no leader, it's not getting done so Metis curator Jennifer Smith joins volunteer arts boards to bring innovative programs attracting youth, supporting diversity and improving arts worker wages.

Nominated by Mentoring Artists for Women's Art.

Outstanding Volunteer Award

Jane Helbrecht

Prairie Theatre Exchange and Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet are jointly nominating Jane Helbrecht for her incredible dedication and exceptional commitment to both organizations and to the wider arts community in Winnipeg.

Nominated by Prairie Theatre Exchange & Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Alice MacKenzie

Alice MacKenzie has served on the MCO Board for 25 years, and has initiated and chaired several special events in support of operations. She embodies the best of volunteerism.

Nominated by Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

Photo by Mark Dela Cruz

Ellen Oberlander & Trish Smerchanski

Under the outstanding governance of Ellen Oberlander and Trish Smerchanski, the School of Contemporary Dancers attained national and international recognition as a leading centre for professional contemporary dance training in Canada.

Nominated by The School of Contemporary Dancers.

Arts Champion

BMO Financial Group

Celebrating 200 years as an ambassador to the arts, BMO works with its community partners to shape the story of tomorrow by centering on enriching culture through collaboration, education and innovation.

Nominated by Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

Michael Nesbitt

Michael Nesbitt has a vision for Winnipeg that places this city securely on the national and international stage as a significant player in the music and fine arts scene.

Nominated by Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

View WAC Arts Award Winners