Winnipeg Arts Council

2024 WAC Awards Winners

June 13th, 2024 — (WINNIPEG) The Winnipeg Arts Council and Mayor Scott Gillingham announced the annual Winnipeg Arts Council Awards on Thursday, June 13th 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.

“Winnipeg artists achieve beyond their means, are revered across the country, and assure the city is celebrated for the arts. We need the voices, the words, the images, the sounds, all the creativity that artists generously offer, to sustain our own lives, for children to flourish and to know stories of the past and glimpses into the future. We are grateful for their work and to be able to honour them.”

   Carol A. Phillips, Executive Director, Winnipeg Arts Council

Hosted by local favourite Cory Wojcik, the event featured performances from Winnipeg's Dirt Catfish Brass Band and a musical number from the brand new musical Ma Buhay! which opens at Rainbow Stage later this month. Mayor Scott Gillingham addressed the near-capacity crowd and the event also featured a tribute to longtime Winnipeg Arts Council Executive Director Carol A. Phillips, who will retire from the organization this fall after 18 years at the helm. 

RBC has sponsored the On the Rise award for an emerging artist since 2012, and Vice president of Commercial Financial Services Candace Hodgins was on hand to bring greetings and present the Award. Longtime patron Gail Asper was also present to hand out a special award for Career Achievement in the Arts to dancer, choreographer and theatre pioneer Brenda Gorlick.

This year's winners were

2024 WAC Awards

  • Ekene Emeka-Maduka

    RBC On the Rise AWARD

    Ekene Emeka-Maduka is a Nigerian artist based in Winnipeg. Her evolving interdisciplinary practice includes visual and community-based work. Her artworks generate emotional/psychological states related to migrant experiences such as hers.

    This award is graciously sponsored by RBC.

    Nominated by Plug In ICA & Mentoring Artists for Women's Art

  • Sharon Bajer

    Making A Mark Award

    30 years of artistic championing artistic creation. opening the door to intimacy direction in Winnipeg, and endless life promoting endless living when we need it most!

    Nominated by Duncan Cox

  • Jennine Krauchi

    Making a Difference Award

    Jennine Krauchi is an internationally recognized Métis beader: an artist, knowledge keeper, teacher, mentor and advocate, who has championed the shared inheritance of Métis beadwork, helping to connect its rich past to contemporary concerns and concepts.

    Nominated by MAWA, C2 Centre for Craft, Manitoba Craft Museum & Library

  • Brenda Gorlick

    Career Achievement in the Arts

    Brenda Gorlick has dedicated her entire life to the performing arts. She has created for stage, screen and stadium and has educated and elevated thousands of emerging artists.

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

    Nominated by Tracy Goltsman

  • Duncan Cox

    Actor, composer, lyricist, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Duncan is the co-writer of many musical theatre collaborations. Often called “an old soul”, everyone who witnesses him perform asks themselves “who is that guy?”

    Nominated by Sharon Bajer

  • Zilla Jones

    Zilla Jones is an African-Canadian fiction writer whose short stories have won numerous awards. Her debut novel and story collection are forthcoming, and she speaks frequently on diversity in writing.

    Nominated by Manitoba Writers Guild

  • Kara Joseph

    As a theatre maker and emerging arts leader, Kara Joseph has shown she has the talent, dedication and generosity.

    Nominated by Manitoba Theatre for Young People

  • Darryl Nepinak

    For 24 years Darryl Nepinak has been making short films that are humourous and centre Indigenous life. His films evoke joyous feelings while simultaneously being critical and honest.

    Nominated by National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition (NIAMC)

  • Ella Steele

    Ella Steele is the founder and director of Winnipeg's Language of Rhythm Pre-Professional Tap Dance Company and co-Artistic Director of in)sight) Tap Collective. She works to create community, share Tap dance and educate.

    Nominated by Dance Manitoba