Audain Prize goes to 12 artist-run centres in B.C. in response to pandemic

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      Twelve artist-run centres in B.C. will receive the 2020 Audain Prize for the Visual Arts.

      This year’s award breaks from the tradition of giving the prize to an individual artist since the Audain Foundation started the recognition in 2004.

      It’s a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted many sectors, including the arts.

      “Given the challenges being faced by artists throughout the province in this pandemic year, we thought that rather than just focusing the attention on a single artist, we would like to support as many artists as possible”, foundation chair Michael Audain said in a media release.

      The foundation will give a $10,000 cheque to each of the following 10 Vancouver-based centres: 221A, Access Gallery, Artspeak Gallery, Grunt Gallery, Malaspina Printmakers Society, Or Gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, UNIT/PITT Society for Art & Critical Awareness, VIVO Media Arts Centre, and Western Front.

      The same amount will be received by the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, which is based in Kelowna, and the Open Space Arts Society, a Victoria organization.

      “Artist-run centres are places where emerging artists often get their start,” Audain said. “They serve as vital hubs for a range of cultural activities in their various communities.”

      The prize monies total $120,000 this year, an increase from the 2019 award of $100,000.

      The same release announced the grant of the 2020 Audain Travel Awards.

      The recipients are Esteban Pérez (Emily Carr University of Art and Design), KatayoonYousefbigloo (Simon Fraser University), Graham Wiebe (University of Victoria), Xan Shian (University of British Columbia Vancouver), and Brittany Reitzel (University of British Columbia Okanagan).

      The $7,500 award was established in 2019 to provide five arts students in B.C. the opportunity to travel and study art.

      “Hopefully, travel will open up again next year and, in the meantime, the students will be encouraged to pursue art projects in their communities”, Audain said.

      Audain established the foundation in 1997 to support visual arts.

      Audain started as a housing policy advisor before entering the private construction industry. He chairs the Polygon Homes.

      Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa are art collectors and patrons. 

      The Audain Foundation has made over $125 million in grants.

       

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