Cultural navigator Mo Dhaliwal wins national award from Business for the Arts

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      Vancouver arts advocate and self-described cultural navigator Mo Dhaliwal has been named this year's winner of the Arnold Edinborough Award from Business for the Arts.

      Daliwal is long-time director of the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, co-vice president of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, member of the PuSh Festival's leaders council, and former president of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.

      "I was quite surprised, actually," Dhaliwal told the Straight by phone. "I've never really been recognized for the work I've done with VIBC on such a national platform before. We've spent so many years really being focused on how we wanted to change the community, how we wanted to contribute, and what sort of changes we wanted to bring about within the community. Really, we've just kind of had our head down working for such a long time that it almost doesn't even occur to you that somebody might want to recognize you for these efforts."

      He praised Hanna Cho, curator of cultural engagement and dialogue at the Vancouver Museum, for encouraging him to submit an application for the award.

      "They went ahead and nominated me," Dhaliwal recalled.

      The museum has worked closely with him in the past.

      The award is named after the first president of Business for the Arts and recognizes a business professional under the age of 40 who has demonstrated leadership and volunteerism in promoting the arts.

      Dhaliwal, director of client services at Skyrocket, will receive a work of art by a Canadian artist and will be given the opportunity to direct $5,000 to the cultural organization of his choice.

      “We congratulate Mo on this well-deserved award,” said Nichole Anderson, president and CEO of Business for the Arts, in a statement issued today. “Mo is a wonderful example of a young business professional who is taking a leadership role in inspiring interest in the arts, engaging the community and encouraging the next generation of business leaders.”

      He will receive the award in Toronto on October 4.

      There's also an annual "Arnold Party", which will take place on September 25 in the Cabaret Room at the Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver. It will feature performances by The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, the HSBC Banghra team, and media artist Sammy Chien.

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      Toru Murakami

      Sep 8, 2012 at 12:40am

      Great to see a young professional building our arts community despite the current economic downturn and funding gripes. YAY

      Lindsay Brown

      Sep 14, 2012 at 8:22pm

      Nice, Mo! Congratulations. You deserve it.