Announcing the Finalists for the 9th Annual Okanagan Arts Awards

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With the overwhelming to our call for nominations this year, only the top 3 nominees in each category will be going on to the Award Gala evening at the Habitat on Saturday, May 28th.

MORE INFO ON AWARD GALA EVENING AND TO BUY TICKETS

Full list of nominees available here

And the Finalists of the 9th Annual Okanagan Arts Awards are….

VISUAL ARTS

Connor Charlesworth   •   Jane Everett   •    Laurie Koss

Connor Charlesworth is a recent graduate of the BFA program at UBC Okanagan. He was a nominee in the BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition and a Runner Up in the Wilden Creativity Award. In 2015 he exhibited his work at the Lake Country Art Gallery, the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art and other galleries.

Jane Everett has exhibited her work across Canada in both private and public galleries – most recently her installation Raft at The Kelowna Art Gallery in 2015, as part of her collaboration with Opera Kelowna. She also had exhibitions in Edmonton, Dundas, ON, and Abbotsford also in 2015.

Laurie Koss is a visual artist living and working Kelowna. Her highly realistic painting practice focuses on the delicate nature of flowers. With a background in design and visual arts, Koss recently had two of her paintings selected by Canada Post for its 2015 flower stamp series.

DANCE

Kinshira  •  Loretta Lachner   •  Janessa McGrath

Kinshira is a performing arts troupe specializing in theatrical productions. They tell compelling stories though a unique fusion of poetic movement and music, expressed with fire, light, pyro techniques, costuming and unique stilt characters. 2015 Performance highlights include: WestsideDaze, the RCA’s Sugar Skull Strut, Artwalk, El Masquerado and the Fat Cat Festival.

Loretta Lachner is one of Kelowna’s most prominent ballet teachers and choreographers, owning her own studio and also teaching for many different studios including The Robb Card Dance Studio, Okanagan Dance Studios, Dance City Academy, The Canadian School of Ballet, and Lake Country School of Dance.

Janessa McGrath has been dancing and choreographing in the Okanagan for over 8 years. In 2015 she launched the Okanagan’s first annual all Hip Hop dance camp, as well as began a mentorship with renowned choreographers Mariel & Keone Madrid in San Diego and developed and trained the Rthm Ground dance team.

MUSIC

Alexandra Babbel & Opera Kelowna •   Andrew Judah  •    Adam Meachem

Alexandra Babbel is a classically trained opera singer and the founding Artistic Director of Opera Kelowna. She performs and produces concerts and productions throughout the year. 2015 highlights include: Opera Under the Stars at UBC Okanagan, the Marriage of Figaro and beginning work on the Lake of Tears collaborative production.

Andrew Judah is a Songwriter and composer with 3 full length albums under his belt. In 2015, Judah and his band won First Place in the Music BC Emerging Artist program and have been receiving regular airplay on CBC Radio 2’s The Signal. He also released an EP of instrumental / ambient music called “Strange Loop”.

Adam Meachem is a recent musical transplant to Kelowna with over 22 year in the trade. 2015 included a full slate of performances at local venues, composing the score for the short film “Out of Darkness” and the release of “Satellite Symphony Volume 1”. He teaches guitar and drumming, and works in audio production.

LITERATURE

Ronald Derrickson   •  Lesley-Anne Evans   •    Michael V. Smith

Unsettling Canada A National Wake-up Call is Grand Chief Ronald Derricksons first book. He is largely self educated but he has distinguished himself as a political leader and a businessman in the Okanagan for more than 40 years. He was chief of the Westbank band for more than a dozen years.

Lesley-Anne Evans is a poet whose work bears witness to the gritty glory of landscapes and people. In 2015, Lesley-Anne completed a libretto for the Lake of Tears, commissioned by Opera Kelowna. Evans work is published widely, and she has performed at many venues and events. In her arts curatorial role with Metro Community, Lesley-Anne
engages with homeless and marginalized poets and artists of Kelowna.

Michael V. Smith is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, performance artist and occasional clown teaching creative writing UBC Okanagan. The author of 3 books, his most recent, My Body Is Yours (Arsenal Pulp 2015), has received wide acclaim including being named one of the most anticipated books of 2015 by CBC.

THEATRE

Kinshira Performance Troupe   •  Robert Mason-Brown   •  Randall Robinson

Kinshira is a performing arts troupe specializing in theatrical productions. They tell compelling stories though a unique fusion of poetic movement and music, expressed with fire, light, pyro techniques, costuming and unique stilt characters. 2015 Performance highlights include: WestsideDaze, the RCA’s Sugar Skull Strut, Artwalk, El Masquerado and the Fat Cat Festival.

Robert Mason-Brown is the Artistic Director of Fred Skeleton Theatre Company. Fred Skeleton creates off-Broadway style theatre productions. In 2015, the production of Our Country’s Good received the Adjudicators Merit Award at Theatre BC Mainstage Festival and Best Director and Production at the Ozone Theatre Festival.

Trained in the visual arts, Randall Robinson has always had an interest in music and theatre. Raft of the Medusa – the Musical, is a theatrical spectacle inspired by Theodore Gericault’s painting of the same name. This original musical  was entirely written and produced in the Okanagan by Robinson and Pat Brown.

TIME BASED MEDIA

Benjamin Musgrave   •    Todd Ramsey   •    Nick Schafer

Benjamin Musgrave is a graduate of the Centre for Arts and Technology. In 2015 he was the writer, director, and cinematographer of his debut film, a short musical called Late Harvest. The film weaves themes of family, expectation, and generational gravity that erupts into a exalted song and dance sequences.

Todd Ramsey is the Animation Supervisor and Head Creative at Yeti Farm, a company he found in 2007. Yeti has grown from a one man shop to employing 30 artists and clients including Atomic Cartoons and Nickelodeon. Ramsey’s own series ‘Schnarg’ recently picked up by a major US broadcaster.

Nick Schafer of Fresh Finish Media is an established photographer, cinematopher and multimedia artist in Kelowna.  He has worked with ICON Magazine, Urban Fare Market, and Lexus Automotive. Specializing in romantic Wedding Films, with a twist of cinematic story-telling, his work is reminiscent of big screen movies.

APPLIED ARTS

Cortnee Chul    •     Art Felt Collaborative    •    Bri Stein

Artists Alice Pallett, Amy Burkard, Diane Goossens, Judith Mueller and Violet Racz came together in 2014 to form the Art Felt Collaborative and share their love of felting. In 2015 they exhibited their work at the Lake Country Art Gallery, Artwalk and are active members of the Ponderosa Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists.

Cortnee Chulo is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus in integrated media, and more specifically videography. She is a recent grad of the BFA program at UBC Okanagan. Her makeup work falls into two fields, natural beauty makeup often for weddings and grad, and SFX makeup for photoshoots, events, film and halloween.

Bri Stein is a freelance make up artist based in Kelowna. She specializes in bridal, beauty, fashion, personalized individual lessons, group lessons and personal shopping. Her work has been seen in both print and online magazines and blogs as well as on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week.

EMERGING ARTIST

Kelsie Balehowsky   •   Connor Charlesworth   •    Jolene Mackie

Kelsie Balehowsky is a photo based artist and printmaker based in Kelowna, BC. who holds BFA from the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Kelsie has exhibited her work extensively throughout the Okanagan and most recently had a solo exhibition at the Vernon Public Art Gallery which explored the unconscious mind and the uncanny through staged photographs.

Connor Charlesworth is a recent graduate of the BFA program at UBC Okanagan. He was a nominee in the BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition and a Runner Up in the Wilden Creativity Award. In 2015 he exhibited his work at the Lake Country Art Gallery, the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art and other galleries.

Jolene Mackie is an artist living and working in Kelowna BC. Her current series of work bridges her fascination with the beauty in the world around us, and the magic of the human imagination. Mackie exhibited extensively in the Okanagan in 2015, while also offering classes at several venues.

INNOVATION

Opera Kelowna   •  Shimshon Obadia   •  Cool Arts Society

Opera Kelowna was founded by Alexandra Babbel, a classically trained opera singer. 2015 was a dynamic season for the company that featured Opera Under the Stars at UBC Okanagan, the Marriage of Figaro, the 4th Annual Summer Opera Intensive and Opera Style Lounge, a “pop-up store” that provided the opportunity for designers and local boutiques to showcase new collections.

Shimshon Obadia holds a BFA in Interdisciplinary Performance from UBC Okanagan. In 2015 he published a book of eco-poems, based on his “Daylighting in the Classroom” work which he has presented to students throughout the Okanagan, Chilliwack and Reno, Nevada. He also produced an audio public art piece in the Fascieaux Creek Wetland Park.

The Cool Arts Society brings fine arts opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities in the Central Okanagan and are known in the community for their innovative programming. 2015 included an exhibition at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, the launch of the XERI-TREK Creative Series – a year long plein air art project and Phase II of the Gaudi in the Garden Public Art Project.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

Lake Country Art Gallery   •   Okanagan Symphony Orchestra   •  Cool Arts Society

In 2015 the Lake Country Art Gallery added to their already dynamic exhibitions and public programming with a newly renovated Art Shop, a new ArtPop-up Gallery space, new weekly workshops in collaboration with Cool Arts and Artbus tours, with two trips, one north to Salmon Arm and the other south to Penticton to take in exhibitions and curator tours.

Each year the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the 3rd largest in BC,  presents a series of concerts with a blend of local talent and national and international guest artists, along with a slate of rich outreach activities, which in 2015 included: masterclasses with guest artists, many intergenerational education opportunities , multi-disciplinary performances and speaking engagements.

The Cool Arts Society brings fine arts opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities in the Central Okanagan. 2015 included an exhibition at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, the launch of the XERI-TREK Creative Series – a year long plein air art project and completed Phase II of the Gaudi in the Garden Public Art Project.

ART & BUSINESS

Brazen Edwards   •  Carrie Mayhew   •  Bramble Lee Pryde

Visual artist Brazen Edwards, a member of  the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) with active status, has married her love of art with business ventures such as the Etsy Made in Canada Show in Kelowna and the Ellis Arts Studios, of which she is the Owner / Operator and Art Director.

Carrie Mayhew is the Editor and Creative Designer of Adore Magazine, an instructor at the Centre for Arts and Technology, the Art Director with Twirling Umbrellas and the Owner and Creative Director of Ginger Creative, where she focuses on custom designed Wedding Stationery, branding and editorial design.

Bramble Lee Pryde is a metalsmith and sculptor. Working under the monikers WOLF + SADIE – a jewellery line, and LE LOU ULA – a homeware collection. In 2015 Pryde was featured in Paper Magazine, ColourBlind, Make It Last, Culture Magazine. Her work has also been featured on TV show Pretty Little Liars.

BUSINESS SUPPORTER

The Heritage Retirement Residence   •   Investors Group   •   Raymond James Ltd.

The Heritage Retirement Residence is a fairly new business in West Kelowna. 2015 was their first year participating in Westside Culture Days. The Heritage also hosted over 20 artists and groups, including the only All Candidates Forum on Art and Culture over the past year, including providing refreshments and catering free of charge for artists.

Investors Group have turned their office into a satellite gallery space of the Lake Country Art Gallery, which has introduced their staff and clients to the work of local artists. Investors Group has also become an regular exhibition sponsor and have volunteered for a “Day of Caring” with the gallery.

Supporting local artists and musicians is integral to how Raymond James Ltd. demonstrates and reinforces their belief in the arts. Raymond James is a Presentation and Season Sponsor at the Rotary Centre for the Arts and guest artist supporter and sponsor of “Concert in the Cellar” for the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. They also exhibited the work of Mal Gagnon in 2015.


Tickets for the 9th Annual Okanagan Arts Award night gala are now on sale

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