Winnipeg Arts Council

2021 WAC Awards Winners

Each year the Winnipeg Arts Council presents three awards to artists in recognition of excellence and creativity in the arts, and two awards to patrons whose ongoing support to the community is vital to the success of the arts in Winnipeg.

The Awards were suspended in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but have returned in 2021 and we are pleased to celebrate the following individuals.

RBC On the Rise

  • Tasha Spillett

    Tasha Spillett’s debut graphic novel, Surviving the City, vol. 1 (illustrated by Natasha Donovan), was published by Highwater Press and won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoba Author at the 2019 Manitoba Book Awards. Volume 2 of the series was shortlisted for four Manitoba Book Awards in 2021. Most recently her children’s book, I Sang You Down from the Stars (illustrated by Michaela Goade) debuted at no. 3 on the New York Times bestsellers list.

Making a Mark

  • Divya Mehra

    Known for her meticulous attention to the interaction of form, medium, and site, Divya Mehra’s work deals with her diasporic experiences and historical narratives. She incorporates found artifacts and readymade objects as active signifiers of resistance or as reminders of the difficult realities of displacement, loss, neutrality, and oppression. Mehra works in a multitude of forms, including sculpture, print, drawing, artist books, installation, advertising, performance, video, and film.

Making a Difference

  • Lisa Meeches, C.M., O.M. Anishinaabe Kwe from Treaty 1

    Lisa Meeches is a devoted mentor to the next generation of Indigenous storytellers. In addition to producing award-winning projects that have furthered the television and film industry in her province and Canada, she has developed and hosts programs that share Indigenous stories of resilience and have brought attention to some of the country’s most critical issues. As the founder of New Voices and IndigiDocs, she is also actively engaged with community and national organizations, notably as the executive director of the Manito Ahbee Festival and is a proud founding partner of Eagle Vision INC.

Outstanding Volunteer Award

  • Heather Cram

    Known as a trailblazing landscape architect, Heather Cram has always tied her practice to the arts and devoted significant amounts of her own time and resources to making this connection. She chaired the Urban Idea Centre, an organization focused on the relationship between the arts and the built form, and was a longtime member of the Winnipeg Arts Council and its predecessor, the Winnipeg Arts Advisory Council. At the request of then-Mayor Glen Murray, Heather chaired the Mayor’s Task Force for Public Art in the early 2000s. It was her volunteer leadership and persistence that established public art in Winnipeg, established the City’s Public Art policy and made public art a valued requirement in urban design in our city.

Arts Champion

  • Dr. Douglas MacEwan

    For over 50 years, Dr. MacEwan has subscribed, donated to and fundraised for many of Winnipeg’s arts organizations. He has led by example to communicate the importance and necessity of support to fellow patrons and as an active donor in his nineties, Dr. MacEwan will leave a legacy of generosity in the Winnipeg arts community.