Winnipeg Arts Council

2023 WAC Awards Winners

June 1st, 2023 — (WINNIPEG) The Winnipeg Arts Council and Mayor Scott Gillingham announced the annual Winnipeg Arts Council Awards on Thursday, June 1st at the RBC Convention Centre. Each June, the community gathers to celebrate the arts in Winnipeg and to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the arts in our city and beyond.

"If we ever needed more proof that arts and artists were important in our lives, we got it throughout the last three years. The recovery for public and in-person participation in the arts has begun, but it will take all of us to demand that the arts flourish and continue to make Winnipeg the place we want it to be. We are honoured to recognize this outstanding group of award winners – at all stages of their careers – who have done this with artistry and determination."

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

The event featured artists from across the disciplines and a crowd from the arts and business communities were treated to performances by members of the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, The Little Opera Company, and Winnipeg Poet Laureate Chimwemwe Undi. 

In addition to the three awards which have been staples of the event for the past 16 years, a new award for Career Achievement in the Arts was presented to Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan.

This year's honourees are

RBC On the Rise

  • Emily Solstice Tait

    Emily has emerged as one of the busiest dance artists in Winnipeg, with major performances and works on numerous stages and platforms to her credit. She has an extraordinary drive for exploration and collaboration, forging creative partnerships across the disciplines, within and beyond Winnipeg. A previous recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Indigenous Arts Leaders Fellowship, Emily is committed both to challenging herself artistically, and to helping build a healthy arts ecosystem.

Making a Mark

  • Rosanna Deerchild

    Rosanna Deerchild is a Cree storyteller, journalist, broadcaster, and poet from the northern community of O-Pipon- Na-Piwan Cree Nation. She is a co-founder and member of the Indigenous Writers Collective of Manitoba and has also contributed to numerous Indigenous newspapers. Her work has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies and she has released two volumes of poetry. Her play The Secret to Good Tea premiered this spring on the Royal MTC mainstage.

    This Award is sponsored by Gail Asper O.C., O.M., LL.D.

Making a Difference

  • Alan Greyeyes

    Over the years Alan Greyeyes has been helping Indigenous artists build careers and get paid for their creative work, developing innovative programs that put Indigenous artists at the centre. Whether it’s in the neighbourhoods of Winnipeg or across Canada and around the world, Alan has worked tirelessly to create opportunities for others. He’s been an outspoken advocate for the arts and their role in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and he’s made sure that Indigenous people can be in charge of their own artistic careers.

Career Achievement in the Arts

  • Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

    Border Crossings Magazine called Shawn Dempsey and Lorri Millan’s humourous, feminist and provocative work “one of the high points of contemporary Canadian artistic production.” For decades, this pioneering duo has created provocative performances, films, videos, and more. They have performed and exhibited throughout Canada, Japan, Europe, Australia, and the U.S. and are currently working as part of the design team for Thunderhead, the LGBTQ2+ National Monument in Ottawa.