Visual Arts: Gary Pearson

Gary Pearson is an artist and Associate Professor at UBC Okanagan. He is also an exhibition curator, art writer, and author of the book The Creative Voice: Life and Art in the Okanagan. Gary’s personal exhibition history includes solo and group exhibitions in North America, Australia, and Europe.

Dance: Tanya Bakala

Tanya Bakala is the Founder and Artistic Director at Mission Dance Centre. As a professional dancer and soloist in Europe, Tanya has danced a variety of styles, ranging from a classical to musical theatre. Today she coaches young dancers in hopes of assisting the next generation of dancers achieve their goals.

Music: Anna Jacyszyn

Anna Jacyszyn is a jazz singer. Anna lived and worked as a jazz singer for 20 years in England and Asia, performing and touring with world-class musician from the globe. Anna founded Kelowna’s Jazz Cafe — a speakeasy of jazz music with the hope of engaging local and aspiring jazz musicians within the Okanagan community.

Literary Arts: Nancy Holmes

Nancy Holmes is a writer of both short fiction and poetry and is also a professor at UBC Okanagan. She teaches Creative Writing at UBC Okanagan and has served as both the Head of the Department of Creative Studies and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies during her tenure. Nancy has also published five collections of poetry

Theatre: Louise Sjoquist

Arts Educator: Leroy Wiens

Leroy Wiens is the choir director of the Okanagan Festival Singers and the Okanagan Community Choir. Having studied with noted Canadian conductors William Baerg and James Fankhauser, Leroy’s conducting repertoire includes a full range of experiences from large choral/orchestral works to a cappella standards. Leroy is currently employed in the Central Okanagan School District as a music specialist.

Supporter of the Arts: Jody LaFontaine

Lifetime Achievement: Geert Maas

Born in the Netherlands, internationally acclaimed artist Geert Maas is a 2D and 3D artist specialising in sculpture, painting, reliefs, and medallic art. Geert and his wife Elly created the Geert Maas Sculpture Gardens and Gallery upon moving to Kelowna in 1979, which features one of the largest collections of bronze sculptures in Canada.


Interested in some of our previous winners? Check them out below!