Visual Arts: Glen Clarke
Glen Clarke moved to Penticton in 1991 when he had begun working at the Penticton Art Gallery. Since then, he has become one of the Central Okanagan’s most active artists, with his work being sought after by various galleries and museums in British Columbia. Glen is also an educator and runs youth classes in painting.
Dance: Shani Wendell
Shani Wendell has been teaching dance in the Okanagan Valley since 1993, and opened the Lake Country School of Dance in 2000. She is an award-winning instructor and choreographer, and is also a member of the Canadian Dance Teacher’s Association. She has choreographed and produced dozens of stage shows including “Cats,” “Grease” and ” Chicago” with the Full Moon Theatre Company.
Music: Dennis Colpits
Dennis Colpits is a musician, conductor, and teacher known for his time in the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and the brass ensemble, Fish on Five. Boasting a strong tenor voice and excellent instrumental skills, the now-retired Colpits continues to teach music in School District 23 as a teacher on-call.
Literary Arts: Patricia Ainslie
With fourteen major publications and over 50 articles to her credit, Patricia Ainslie is a literary tour de force in the Central Okanagan. Born in South Africa, Ainslee has been involved in a multitude of artistic projects, including the direction of over 20 exhibits per year across North America during her time as Curator of Art at Glenbow.
Theatre: Asparagus Community Theatre
Asparagus Community Theatre is a theatre group from Armstrong, BC with the goal to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of the arts in Armstrong. As winners of many municipal, regional, and provincial awards, ACT has garnered a reputation for engaging youth and showcasing powerful local talent.
Youth Arts Award: Kelsie Balehowsky
Kelsie Balehowsky is an award-winning, photo-based artist, printmaker, art instructor, and arts advocate. Since completing her BFA at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2014, Kelsie has exhibited her work both internationally and locally. Kelsie’s work often cites themes of landscape, technology, and community.
Culinary Award: Michael Lyon
Chef Michael Lyon describes his food philosophy as “French forward with a Rocky Mountain twist”. Named one of Canada’s top 20 chefs and winner of a plethora of culinary honours (including being the only chef in history to win back-to-back Gold Medal Plates), Michael is currently the food editor of Icon Okanagan and executive chef at Ex Nihilo in Kelowna.
Art Educator: Alexandra Babbel
Alexandra Babbel summarizes her teaching philosophy as follows: “I teach with the intention that those within m care surpass me.” With over 20 years of vocal teaching experience under her company, Alexandra Babbel Studios, Babbel currently teaches 45 private students and conducts five vocal ensembles, including the award-winning female ensemble, Candesca, and the newly formed Okanagan Youth Choir.
COF Community Arts Group: Alternator Centre for the Contemporary Arts
Over the past 25 years, the Alternator’s support of local artists ranges in capacity rom unjuried exhibition space to paid, professional opportunities for artistic critique. With a Member’s Gallery that shows the work of over 200 developing artists per year, the Alternator is a consistently innovative environment for artists and art-lovers alike.
Media Arts: Chris Stenburg
Supporter of the Arts: Shelly Vida
Shelly Vida first began her support for the arts upon volunteering her time for numerous musical events in the greater Kelowna community. Since then, Shelly has been the organizer of the BC Music Awards, and has worked at the Rotary Centre for the Arts as the primary support behind bringing live and new events to the public.
Lifetime Achievement: Joan Panton Williams
The founder of Kelowna’s Sunshine Theatre Society, Joan Panton Williams is a long-time performing and theatre arts advocate. Following 20 years of professional acting, Joan formed the Sunshine Theatre Society and has developed the company into a reputable theatre group in Kelowna known for both its summer productions and theatrical training.
Interested in some of our previous winners? Check them out below!