Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

RECOGNIZING VISUAL ARTISTS – Julie Jai and David Trick are seen at the announcement of the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts on Thursday afternoon at the Yukon Arts Centre. Inset Mary Bardshaw.

Major new prize celebrates visual artists

Thanks to a Yukon-Ontario couple, the territory’s visual artists will be eligible to apply for a $20,000 prize to support their art through a new privately-funded award that was announced Thursday.

By Whitehorse Star on June 26, 2020

Thanks to a Yukon-Ontario couple, the territory’s visual artists will be eligible to apply for a $20,000 prize to support their art through a new privately-funded award that was announced Thursday.

The new Yukon Prize for Visual Arts will recognize excellence by Yukon visual artists and be a catalyst for the promotion of Yukon visual art across Canada.

The prize’s co-founders and sponsors are Julie Jai and David Trick, who divide their time between Whitehorse and Ontario.

The prize is being established in partnership with the Yukon Arts Foundation, the Yukon Arts Centre, and a team of volunteers who have been working since September 2019 to make it a reality.

The prize is open to Yukon artists working in any medium. Those include painting, carving, sculpture, ceramics, prints, electronic media, photography, textiles, glass, regalia, jewelry and drawings.

“We are so impressed by the quality and diversity of Yukon art and believe that it should have a much larger audience,” Trick said Friday.

Three outstanding Canadian arts professionals have agreed to serve as jurors and will select the award winners.

They are Candice Hopkins, an internationally known independent curator, now Ottawa-based, and a citizen of Carcross-Tagish First Nation; Ryan Doherty, chief curator of Contemporary Calgary; and Gaëtane Verna, director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto.

“We are hoping that the Yukon Prize will help bring Yukon art into the national dialogue about art and give Yukon artists the recognition that they deserve,” said Jai.

In June 2021, the jury will choose six finalists.

In September 2021, a winner will be chosen from among the finalists.

The winner of the Yukon Prize will receive $20,000, and each of the finalists will be recognized by a $1,000 award.

A gala event will be held in September 2021 to announce the winner and celebrate Yukon visual arts.

“The Yukon Prize celebrates the power of Yukon visual art by inviting a national dialogue and critical discourse,” said Mary Bradshaw, the arts centre’s director of visual arts.

“The Yukon Arts Centre is thrilled to partner with Julie and David/the Yukon Prize to honour and recognize the incredible talent within the territory.”

All six finalists will be included in a curated group exhibition in Whitehorse at the arts centre’s gallery from September to November 2021.

To be eligible, artists must be residents of the Yukon for at least two years immediately prior to the application closing date (March 31, 2021) and be engaged part-time or full-time in creating and producing original works of art.

“One of the key goals for the Yukon Arts Foundation is ‘to encourage and assist the development of the fine arts in the Yukon,’” said foundation director Al Cushing.

“We cannot think of a more appropriate and exciting project to support than the Yukon Prize for Visual Arts. It will, in a spectacular fashion, both recognize the outstanding work of Yukon visual artists and ensure that their work is recognized nationally.”

Applications will open Jan. 1, 2021.

“People,  real  people from the private sector have stepped up to create an exceptional opportunity for Yukon’s visual artists,” said Duncan Sinclair, BMus MPA and 2019 Kevin Walters Western Canadian Music Industry Builder awardee.

“Without the inspiration, leadership and sweat equity from the co-founders, this would not be. But it is, because of Julie and David.

“They are to be celebrated as much as the artists. Only good will come of this. Building Yukon’s visual arts sector regionally and nationally.”  

The prize has three goals:

• provide a significant financial prize ($20,000) to one Yukon artist annually that will help the artist focus full-time on creating art or advancing his/her artistic development;

• promote Yukon art and Yukon artists outside the Yukon; and

• foster a culture of curatorial critique and discourse in the Yukon and encourage artists to be the best that they can possibly be.

The prize recognizes artists whose work demonstrates technical proficiency and reflects a unique artistic “voice” in theme, method or practice, referencing traditions and/or the contemporary realm.

Members of the Yukon Prize Committee are Jai, Trick, Bradshaw, Cushing, Sinclair, Charlene Alexander, the executive director of the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, artist Leslie Leong, Marilyn Smith, the former executive director, of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé, an Upper Tanana artist and curator, and Mary Jane Warshawski, a local business person.

Comments (2)

Up 4 Down 0

Mary Beattie on Jun 27, 2020 at 9:50 pm

Thank you for this opportunity to join into the Visual Artist Contest sponsored by Julie Jai and David Trick and the other organizers of this
timely contest. This will be a positive healthy spark of energy for Yukon Artists.
Smiles, Mary Beattie

Up 5 Down 0

Heather Finton on Jun 27, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Thanks Julie and David for your commitment to Yukon artists. Your team has a good vision for long-term success. Wish your plans for a community launch weren’t delayed by the health restrictions but it will be good to celebrate with artists in future!

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