Okanagan Arts Awards

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The 9th Annual Okanagan Arts Awards will take place on the evening of May 28th at the Habitat, in downtown Kelowna.

In existence since 2007

The Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO) supports and strengthens the arts throughout the Central Okanagan by championing artistic excellence, accessibility, communication, awareness, and mutual support of the arts within the broader community.

The Okanagan Arts Awards were created by the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan to celebrate artistic and creative excellence and achievement of artists, in all disciplines, in our region. By publicly acknowledging the work of these individuals and organizations, the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan places excellence in artistic practice, in all its forms, front and centre as an integral part of our vibrant community.

The Arts makes a significant contribution to the social, physical, creative and economic wellbeing of the Central Okanagan and the strength of the Arts speaks a lot about the strength of the soul of any community.

The Creative and Artistic Soul of the Central Okanagan is Alive and Well.

We want to celebrate it. We want to showcase it. We want to acknowledge and champion those people and organizations that are making significant contributions to the thriving fabric of art making in our community.

Besides acknowledging creative and artistic excellence, the Okanagan Arts Awards also makes outstanding artistic practices more visible and accessible to our community and provides role models for other artistic practitioners. No matter the discipline, there is an inherent commonality and kinship amongst anyone engaged in the creative process and the spirit of creation.

The goals of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan in creating and presenting the Okanagan Arts Awards are to: 

  • support, champion and encourage outstanding artistic practice
  • publicly acknowledge, showcase and celebrate outstanding artistic practices in the Central Okanagan
  • raise awareness of the amount and quality of artistic production in our region
  • to advocate for continued and increased community support for artistic practitioners – individuals and organizations
  • increase the visibility of successful artistic practitioners as role models in the Central Okanagan
  • demonstrate the importance of the arts to the community of the Central Okanagan as a whole
  • engage the community in the celebration of great artistic achievement
  • create a lasting legacy and record of outstanding artistic achievement in the Central Okanagan
  • create an accessible living archive of all past winners and nominees

The art awards will be awarded on an annual basis, with presentations made during a Gala Event, which will take place in the Spring of each year.

Up until the 2015 Okanagan Arts Awards, the coverage area of the Okanagan Arts Awards included residents in the Okanagan, Nicola, Thompson and Revelstoke areas.

The refocus of the Okanagan Arts Awards coverage area to just the Central Okanagan for the 2016 awards comes as the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan goes into a revision of its mandate and vision in 2016.

If you have any comments or feedback about this decision, please contact ARTSCO’s Executive Director Katie Brennan at director@artsco.ca / 250-861-4123

2015 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners

  • Youth Arts Award:  Kelsie Balehowsky
  • Culinary Award:  Michael Lyon
  • Art Educator:  Alexandra Babbel
  • Music:  Dennis Colpits
  • COF Community Arts Group:  Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art
  • Media Arts:  Chris Stenburg
  • Graphic Arts:  Kyle Poirier
  • Literary Arts:  Patricia Ainslie
  • Dance:  Shani Wendell
  • Visual Arts: Glen Clarke
  • Theatre:  Asparagus Community Theatre
  • Supporter of the Arts:  Shelly Vida
  • Lifetime Achievement: Joan Panton Williams


2014 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners

  • Youth Arts Award:  Chloe and Kyle Davidson
  • Culinary Award:  Rod Butters
  • Art Educator:  Rena Warren
  • Music:  Andrew Smith
  • COF Community Arts Group:  Actor’s Studio
  • Media Arts:  Mountain Lake Films: Glen Samuel and Wendy Ord
  • Graphic Arts:  Timothy Tweed
  • Literary Arts:  Shane Koyczan
  • Dance:  Okanagan Dance Studio
  • Visual Arts:  Ann Kipling
  • Theatre:  Bumbershoot Theatre
  • Supporter of the Arts:  Glenna Turnbull
  • Lifetime Achievement:   Arnold Draper

2013 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners

  • Media Arts: David McIlvride
  • Music: Craig Thomson
  • Literary Arts: Sterling Hayes
  • Dance: Vicki View
  • Visual Arts: Crystal Przybille
  • Design: Trevor Butler
  • Theatre: Matt Brown
  • Supporter: Robert MacDonald
  • Educator: Michelle Loughery
  • COF Community Arts Award: Creator’s Art Centre
  • Lifetime Achievement: Robert Dow Reid

2012 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners

  • Music: Rosemary Thomson
  • Visual Arts: Briar Craig
  • Literary Arts: Patricia Donahue
  • Arts Educator: Dan Bruce
  • Theatre: Catherine Stubington, Nathan Flavel
  • Media Arts: Tracey Bonneau
  • Dance: Wendy Williams
  • Supporter of the Arts: Yvonne Topf
  • Central Okanagan Foundation Community Arts Association Award: Kelowna Community Concert Association
  • Lifetime Achievement: Ken Jubenvil

2011 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners

  • Music: Imant Raminsh
  • Visual Arts: Frances Harris
  • Design: Donald Gillard
  • Arts Educator: Sarah Lige and Dawn Emerson
  • Theatre: Jeff Samin
  • Media Arts: Ascent Films: Jiri Bakala, Myles McGovern, Steve Antturi
  • Dance: Ballet Kelowna
  • Supporter of the Arts: Liz Burnett
  • Central Okanagan Foundation Community Arts Association Award: Livessence
  • Lifetime Achievement: Roslyn Frantz

2010 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners

  • Lifetime Achievement: Geert Maas, Kelowna
  • Literary Arts: Nancy Holmes, Kelowna
  • Arts Educator: Leroy Wiens, Kelowna
  • Visual Arts: Gary Pearson, Kelowna
  • Music: Anna Jacyszyn, Kelowna
  • Supporter of the Arts: Jody LaFontaine, Lake Country
  • Dance: Tanya Bakala, Kelowna
  • Theatre: Louise Sjoquist, Kelowna

2009 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners

  • Music: Susan Aylard
  • Visual Arts: Jock Hildebrandt
  • Dance: Ballet Kelowna
  • Literary: Sharon Thesen
  • Media Arts: Rick Sagayadan
  • Theatre: Theatre Kelowna
  • Arts Educator: Tina Siddiqui
  • Arts Supporter: Mary Jo Schnepf
  • Lifetime Achievement: Francine Gravel
2008 Okanagan Arts Awards Winners
  • Music – Denis Letourneau, Vernon
  • Media Arts – Jim Elderton, Vernon
  • Dance – Tanya Bakala, Kelowna
  • Visual Arts – Judith Jurica, Vernon
  • Theatre – Shakespeare Kelowna, Kelowna
  • Design – Janice Fingado, Kelowna
  • Arts Educator – Rhonda Draper, Kelowna
  • Lifetime Achievement – Daphne Odjig, Penticton