The Abbotsford Arts Council was pleased to present the 9th ANNUAL ARTY AWARDS on Friday, April 12, 2013, in the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium. These prestigious awards honour artists for their achievements in art excellence and their significant contributions to all forms of art in the community. In addition to the awards presentations, the evening's celebration included a catered reception and silent auction. Attendees also enjoyed some fabulous entertainment including a performance by Abbotsford’s Mayor Bruce Banman!
The Arty Award recipients for 2013 are:
Betty Johnston, Photographer
Outstanding Artist in the Visual Arts – 2-Dimensional
Following retirement from a 30 year career with the City of Abbotsford’s Park, Recreation and Culture Department, Betty now takes pictures at many of the City’s community events, some of which have been featured in Abbotsford Travel Guides, presented as gifts to local dignitaries, and been awarded numerous prizes. She has worked as a volunteer photographer for many local organizations including the Christine Lamb Residence, the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame, the Abbotsford Cycling Action Group, Tourism Abbotsford, the Canadian Senior Curling Championships and the Provincial Skills Canada Competition. Through her work, Betty has featured the beauty of our local scenery, focused on the unique character of our community, and showcased the many attractions found in our region.
Kaleigh Ross, BC Teen Challenge Women’s Centre
Outstanding Artist in the Visual Arts – 3-Dimensional
Kaleigh came to Teen Challenge a year ago to get her life back on track from addiction. As part of the program’s work detail, Kaleigh and the other students have cultivated their artistic skills while developing self-esteem and confidence. Making jewelry has sparked the creative side of Kaleigh and has inspired her dream to design and produce a clothing line that would help impact the fight against human trafficking. Aside from her unique creative style, Kaleigh has demonstrated leadership in the group and is an inspiration to others. She plans to work at Teen Challenge after her graduation this month and will attend Summit College in the fall for continued education. Teen Challenge is proud of Kaleigh for the determination and courage it has taken to make changes in her life and congratulates her for her well-deserved accomplishments.
Paul Lowey (Gloo Studios), Executive Producer
Outstanding Artist in the Visual Arts – Video/Film
Paul has produced everything from short corporate videos for small businesses to multi-million dollar programs broadcast around the world. He is passionate about his work in the not-for-profit sector, directing and producing for clients like United Way, Ronald McDonald House, and Junior Achievement. As a creative director and producer, Paul understands the unique needs of each client and consistently delivers beyond expectations.
Kristal Barrett, Singer/Songwriter
Outstanding Artist in the Performing Arts – Music
Kristal released her first album "High on Life" in 2007, and since then has been nominated for numerous BC Country Music Awards and performed at various venues including Merritt Mountain Music Festival. In September 2011, Kristal released her very first music video for her song "Girl in a Car," which was all filmed locally in her hometown of Abbotsford. The video has been nominated in the second ballot at this year’s BC Country Music Awards.
Mary Boonstra, Dance Instructor/Choreographer
Outstanding Artist in the Performing Arts – Dance
In addition to being a constable with the Abbotsford Police Department, Mary Boonstra teaches adult dance at Dance in Motion in Abbotsford and uses dance and fitness to encourage people throughout Abbotsford to be more active and give back to the community. For the last 8 years, Mary has donated and dedicated her time to teach business members in Abbotsford ‘how to move’ by choreographing the ‘Business In Black’ dance routine that is showcased each at the Abbotsford Chamber Business Excellence Awards and at the Abbotsford Hospice Gala. Mary also created ‘Project G’ (G meaning “to give”), coordinating flash mobs in Abbotsford to raise money for a variety of charities including Communitas, Abbotsford Community Services, Abbotsford Food Bank and Fraser Valley Women’s Resource Society. Mary believes that healthy spirits and hearts equal a healthy community.
Eileen Deros, Theatre Rehearsal/Orchestral Pianist
Outstanding Artist in the Performing Arts – Theatre
Eileen discovered a love of music at a very young age and playing the piano and riding horses became the focus of her young life. Although she chose practical careers at first, a calling to music was the only thing that made her happy. A piano teacher for many years, Eileen loves to share her knowledge and love of music with her students and to be part of the large musical community of the Fraser Valley. She has accompanied the Fraser Valley Stage Production Society for the last 15 years and has been honoured to take part in the excitement and fulfilment of musical theatre.
Heidi Turner, Freelance Writer
Outstanding Artist in the Literary Arts
Heidi Turner is an Abbotsford-based writer who specializes in legal, medical and financial writing. Publications that have showcased her work include cbc.ca, Business Fraser Valley, the Fraser Valley Pulse, and Lawyers and Settlements. She has also written websites, press releases, grant applications and other business documents for a variety of clients locally, nationally and internationally. In addition to her writing, Heidi is a strong supporter of writers and other artists in British Columbia. She serves as a regional director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), representing writers across British Columbia at a national level, and founded the Fraser Valley chapter of PWAC, a chapter dedicated to providing support, networking and professional development to writers who live in the Fraser Valley. She also mentors writers looking to get started on or to advance their freelance career and visits local writing programs to talk about careers in writing.
Kat Wahamaa, Artist/Activist
Christine Caldwell Outstanding Arts Advocate Award Winner*
Kat Wahamaa’s career has spanned over 30 years in various areas including: music, dance, theatre, community cultural development, advocacy, arts administration, communications, festivals & and events. She brought her community cultural development skills and experience to the position of Cultural Programs Manager at The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford from its opening in 2008 to 2012. She facilitated the development of public arts & education programs, music series, arts and social action projects, championed local artists and initiatives and fostered connections between individuals and organizations on exhibitions, arts projects and events. Kat continues to be active in the vibrant Abbotsford arts scene and is currently the artistic director at the Railtown Cultural Enhancement Society.
Rachel Fritzke – Painter/Clay Sculptor
Outstanding Youth Artist – Elementary School, All Genres
Rachel attends King Traditional Elementary where she is in second grade. Her favourite subjects are art and science. She has been taking art classes from 4Cats Art Studio since fall of 2011. She loves to draw and sketch whereever she is. Cats are her favourite animal. They are often objects in her drawings along with landscapes and birds. Rachel is also learning Polynesian dance at Carol's Polynesian Dance Studio and performed last year on the Festival Square Stage at the PNE with the dance group. In September of last year, she also began taking piano lessons.
Maddison Wilson, Photographer
Outstanding Youth Artist – Secondary School, All Genres
Maddison Wilson is a 17 year old student set to graduate from Abbotsford Senior Secondary with the Grad Class of 2013. She is passionate about photography, and in particular light on subjects. Maddi likes to give back to the community and serves as the youth rep director on the Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley. She is already a master fundraiser having raised over $4000 in the past three years for BBBSFV Bowl for Kids Sake. Maddi lives with her mom and younger brother, and a dog named Buddy. Her camera is always at her hip, and her phone is full of pictures of anything at all that catches her eye.
Chrissy Courtney, Bachelor of Fine Arts Student, University of the Fraser Valley
Outstanding Artist, Post-Secondary School, All Genres
Chrissy Courtney is currently enrolled in her third year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at UFV. She has made many achievements in the last couple of years, including receiving the Mircho and Janina Jakobow Memorial Endowment Scholarship in 2012, as well as placing 1st in the Uncommon Goodness Poster Competition. More recently, she has won 1st place in the UFV Photography Club photo contest and has become a contributor to UFV's Louden Singletree. Outside of University, Chrissy contributes to the Fraser Valley's Footprint Press and hosts a monthly drawing class at the House of Fine Art, where she works. Chrissy aspires to one day run her own creative co-op, where she plans to focus on the combination of creativity and well-being.
Judy Whyte, Past Executive Director of the Abbotsford Arts Council
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Judy Whyte was born in Holland, Manitoba. She lived in Prince George for 20 years with her husband and three children. While in Prince George, she worked for the Liquor Distribution Branch, and was a volunteer and instructor with the Prince George Art Council.
She moved to Abbotsford in January 1998 and started working for the Abbotsford Arts Council 12 days later. During her 14 years of service with the Arts Council, Judy played a huge role in developing and managing many programs, projects and community initiatives, one of her favourites being providing support for the creation of the Unity Statue, a 15ft bronze statue of two teenaged youth standing in front of the Clearbrook Library overlooking Abbotsford’s municipal plaza. The statue was a millennium initiative undertaken in partnership with two local artists, Dean Lauze and Norm Williams, and was inspired by the Abbotsford Youth Council’s vision of creating a statue as a way of healing a devastating wound and laying a new path full of hope, peace and unity for their friends and their community. When fundraising proved challenging for the Youth Commission, the Abbotsford Arts Council joined the project to assist and raised over $130,000 in donations from individuals, service groups and businesses as well as from the sale of Unity Pins. At the statue’s unveiling, Judy stood alongside the artists who created it as well as the Arts Council’s then president Cathy Burrell and watched as what she says “felt like the entire community file into the civic plaza to share a moment; a glimpse at a part of Abbotsford History we all made happen together.”
In addition to the Unity Statue project, Judy played a role in the creation “Expressions,” the first art bench created in the Downtown Abbotsford Art Bench Project as well as the Sto:lo Clan Bench. The programs she initiated and/or operated for multiple years include The Arty Awards, The Arts and Heritage Unity Festival, The Envision Coffee House Concert and Concert in the Park Series, For the Love of the Arts Studio Tour, Art in the Park, Art Walk, and the Kariton Boutique Gift Shop. Programs she inherited and enhanced include the Kariton Art Gallery and the Christmas Craft Fair. She was also involved in the creation of The Reach and Canada Day festivities.
Although she has always had a passion in the development and growth of all art forms, her personal form of artistic expression in is the visual arts. She earned the title of Master Carver in 2001 and enjoys working in both wood and clay. She has introduced and tutored hundreds of people from ages 8 to 80 to the art of woodcarving, and honed her skills under the tutelage of others, which she says “is what the arts is all about.” She states that her two proudest moments as an artist were creating a woodcarving of the Coat of Arms for the City of Prince George, and her woodcarving called “The Flood, which she created for the grand opening of The Reach.
*To honour the memory of Christine Caldwell, a strong advocate for the arts in Abbotsford who passed away in February, the Board of Directors of the Abbotsford Arts Council has designated the Arty Award for Outstanding Arts Advocate to henceforth be known as "The Christine Caldwell Outstanding Arts Advocate Award."