Okanagan Arts Award nominees announced

Thirty-two Okanagan artists and organizations have been nominated in nine categories, with the awards to be handed out Feb. 25 in Kelowna.

The Arts Council of the Central Okanagan has announced the nominees for its fifth annual Okanagan Arts Awards.

The winners will be announced Feb. 25 at a gala event in Kelowna, which will feature a showcase of visual and performing artists, as well as a silent auction.

All winners will be presented with a bronze cast sculpture designed by Kamloops artist Terry Shewchuk.

“The Okanagan Arts Awards are an annual black tie celebration honouring artists, art supporters and art organizers whose work has made a major contribution to the artistic and cultural life of the Okanagan,” reads a press release from the council.

This year, 32 artists and organizations were nominated in nine categories.

They include Vernon-based scribe Patricia Donahue, the only one selected in the literary arts category.

Nominated for theatre awards were Vernon-based playwright and Powerhouse Theatre member Michael Poirier, Cathy Stubington, the founding artistic director and puppeteer with Enderby-Grindrod’s Runaway Moon Theatre, Kelowna Actors Studio cofounder Nathan Flavel, and Theatre Kelowna’s Brian Haigh.

In visual arts, Vernon painter and arts educator Gerald Marchand, and internationally renowned mural artist Michelle Loughery, also of Vernon, were nominated alongside UBC Okanagan printmaking professor Briar Craig, Kelowna’s Julia Trops and the Princeton Arts Council.

In music, Okanagan Symphony music director Rosemary Thomson was nominated along with Kelowna country artist Cynthia Leigh-Ann, and singer-songwriter-producer Thomas Kjorven, who was actually nominated three times, as a solo artist as well as with two other projects, Blue with Jaclyn Gee, and Something Else with Jesse Esson.

Linda Kovach, Latinesque, and Wendy Williams were recognized for their contribution to dance, while arts educator nods went to Tina Sidiqqui, Dan Bruce, Linda Lovisa, Ryan Donn, Joseph Berarducci, and Wentworth Music.

Donald Gillard, Samantha Bjalek, Tracey Bonneau, and David Mcilvride were all nominated for the media arts award.

Supporter of the arts included Event Magazine and Yvonne Topf, while the Kelowna Community Concert Association was nominated for the art association award.

The awards celebration takes place at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a reception and the showcase starting at 7 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the Robb Card Dancers, Vernon singer Melina Moore with pianist Jim Leonard, Thomas Kjorven, and many others. Visual arts will be profiled in the foyer, with a water-themed exhibition.

Tickets for the gala are $35, $20/students, at www.selectyourtickets.com.