YWCA Women of Distinction Awards arts, culture, and design nominees announced

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      Some of the female heads of the city's biggest arts organizations are up for YWCA Women of Distinction awards.

      In the arts, culture, and design category in the nominations announced today: Jessica Bouchard, associate director of The Polygon Gallery; Laura Byspalko, managing director of the Indian Summer Arts Society and cofounder of the Indian Summer Festival; Dana Claxton, department head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at UBC; Anicka Quin, editorial director of Western Living Magazine and Vancouver Magazine; Claire Sakaki, executive director of Bard on the Beach; Kelly Tweeddale, president of the Vancouver Symphony Society and VSO School of Music; and Jennifer Twiner McCarron, CEO of Thunderbird Entertainment and its subsidiary Atomic Cartoons.

      Many of the arts administrators have broken new ground and made a difference for other women in their roles. Tweeddale is the first woman to hold her joint role at the VSO and has launcheda program called Women’s Voices to highlight and promote female leadership in music.

      Polygon Gallery's Jessica Bouchard and renowned visual artist and UBC department head Dana Claxton.


      And many of them have made a sizable impact on the local arts scene. Sakaki over saw Bard's big move into its new administrative home at the BMO Theatre Centre and sits on Vancouver's Creative City Strategy. Bouchard has been instrumental in steering the opening of the purpose-built home for Western Canada’s largest photography-geared gallery. Under Byspalko's leadership, India Summer has seen an audience increase of 400 percent and revenue increase of 700 percent since she helped establish the fest well-known for its diversity. And Claxton is a celebrated Canadian artist in her own right, having recently been the focus of a major solo survey at the Vancouver Art Gallery called Dana Claxton: Fringing the Cube. She's about to release a book on her Lakota Sioux research with the Mackenzie Art Gallery.

      The 36th annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards will be held at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver on May 13.

      Jennifer Twiner McCarron and Anicka Quin