Awards

2019 Murray J. Clerkson Award Winner Testimonial

“Most every artist will reach a crux in their career as they must choose a path forward in their development. The artist can courageously choose to scale-up, often facing financial risk or other lost opportunities. They can choose to remain the same, risking career stagnation. Or the artist can choose to quit altogether. These choices are particularly difficult for artists residing in rural communities such as South Georgian Bay, with creative opportunities being more plentiful in our great cities. That is why community arts organizations like the Blue Mountain Foundations for the Arts are crucial to the viability of a successful, supportive and thriving arts community like ours.

For me as an artist, The Robert G. Kemp award symbolizes what a superior arts community stands for. Not only does the award provide crucial financial support to artists and projects, but it provides confident recognition from the artist community. Art takes courage, and what the Kemp Award provided me with first and foremost was the
courage to believe in myself and my artistic vision, and secondly with financial support to see the project to a higher level of execution. The support of the Robert G. Kemp award and the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts helped me find the courage to scale-up my career as a filmmaker, and supported a project that employed local artists
and service providers. Thank you to the Kemp Family, the grant committee, the BMFA board for your ongoing support to the artistic community and for believing in the arts in South Georgian Bay.”

–Tracey Strnad, 2019 Robert G. Kemp Award Recipient

Murray J. Clerkson Award

About Murray Clerkson

Murray Clerkson was a well known local artist with a dramatic flair in his own art. Throughout his own career, he strongly supported new and emerging artists by investing in their work and freely and positively commenting on their achievement.

About the Award

The prestigious Murray Clerkson Award has been created by bequest to the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts by the late Mr. Clerkson,. It is intended to celebrate the ac-complishments of an outstanding, local, emerging, visual artist who demonstrated potential for significant contribution to the arts. It is given to an individual who has shown courage and determination in becoming an artist.. Murray’s wish is that the award would recognize an evolving or emerging artist, not yet professionally established, but who has reached a stage where he/she now possesses a body of work that indicates strength, purpose and commitment. The award is open to artists residing in the south Georgian Bay area, working in any visual arts discipline.

Clerkson's Home Store

 

Award amount: $1000

2022 Deadline: April 22nd 2022

See the 2020 Clerkson Award Finalists

Kelsey Lowes is the 2022

Clerkson Award Winner

Kelsey first applied for the Clerkson Award two years ago, but didn’t receive the award. Instead of giving up, she applied herself and continued to work on her artistic development. The result is a body of work that she feels truly represents her.

Lowes is an abstract painter who first started painting six years ago while on maternity leave after the birth of her son. She paints using only a palette knife and is completely self-taught.

You can find her work here:

Website: https://www.kelseylowes.com/

Instagram: @kelseylowesart or https://www.instagram.com/kelseylowesart/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Come into the BMFA Art Shop to view, and purchase Kelsey’s work.

 

Examples of Kelsey Lowes’ Paintings that were on Display in the Clerkson Exhibition at the BMFA

The Robert G. Kemp Arts Award

The Award was created in 1989 to encourage and recognize an individual or group residing in the South Georgian Bay area, which includes Collingwood, Creemore, Town of Blue Mountains, Stayner, Thornbury, Meaford, and Wasaga Beach. It also includes the Townships of Clearview, Osprey, Sunnidale and St Vincent Euphrasia.

Award amount: $5000
Application Deadline: Extended to April 8th, 5 pm
Where to Apply: Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts
65 Simcoe St, Studio 4, Collingwood,
Email: [email protected]

Method of Selection: a committee of present and former Directors of the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts evaluates the project proposals based on the following criteria:
• Artistic Background of the Applicant
• Artistic Merit of the Project
• Benefit to the Georgian Triangle Community
• Originality

 

2019 Robert G. Kemp Arts Award Winner Testimonial

“Most every artist will reach a crux in their career as they must choose a path forward in their development. The artist can courageously choose to scale-up, often facing financial risk or other lost opportunities. They can choose to remain the same, risking career stagnation. Or the artist can choose to quit altogether. These choices are particularly difficult for artists residing in rural communities such as South Georgian Bay, with creative opportunities being more plentiful in our great cities. That is why community arts organizations like the Blue Mountain Foundations for the Arts are crucial to the viability of a successful, supportive and thriving arts community like ours.

For me as an artist, The Robert G. Kemp award symbolizes what a superior arts community stands for. Not only does the award provide crucial financial support to artists and projects, but it provides confident recognition from the artist community. Art takes courage, and what the Kemp Award provided me with first and foremost was the
courage to believe in myself and my artistic vision, and secondly with financial support to see the project to a higher level of execution. The support of the Robert G. Kemp award and the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts helped me find the courage to scale-up my career as a filmmaker, and supported a project that employed local artists
and service providers. Thank you to the Kemp Family, the grant committee, the BMFA board for your ongoing support to the artistic community and for believing in the arts in South Georgian Bay.”

–Tracey Strnad, 2019 Robert G. Kemp Award Recipient

2021 Robert G. Kemp Arts Award Winner Testimonial

I am so excited to be able to offer this opportunity to explore creativity and expression with Events for Life participants, a chance to discover and express in different ways. Our wonderful community of adults with differences will have the chance to be who they are, I will have the opportunity to spend an entire year with them and build upon their needs and interests, grow the program with them and for them. One of our participants says, ‘I love to learn art and new art techniques as it helps me keep calm.’ We are thrilled to have this chance to change lives through art.

–Maureen Munden, 2021 Robert G. Kemp Award Recipient

Tracey Lawko is the 2022

Kemp Arts Award Winner

Her piece “Reflections of Ourselves” was chosen for its outstanding gift to the community. It is a collaborative art project that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Canadians.

Lawko chose a tree as a non-political symbol of human community where differences of human culture are like the variations of individual leaves of a tree. Each leaf is created by an Indigenous, settler or immigrant Canadian in celebration of their heritage.

Her own stitched leaves, interwoven throughout the piece, represent the mingling of cultures and the common threads between us. She provided a leaf template for artists to use, but the design of each leaf is unique to each artist. Each leaf’s artist statement is displayed with the sculpture.

Check out Tracey’s website at https://traceylawko.com/maple-leaf-project/

 

Additional Testimonials

Living Water Resorts Digital Arts Award Inaugural Winner 2019

“This is my very first art award! I am incredibly honored and humbled.
As a typical artist, I lack confidence; I would, therefore, like to thank my grandmother who encouraged me to submit my digital drawings to this contest. I would also like to thank The Blue Mountain Foundation of the Arts, which works to build the confidence of, and inspire, independent artists like me, to continue to learn and grow through their artwork.
Opportunities like these allow artists to showcase their work outside of their private studios, (or in our case, outside of our desktop displays) to promote conversation and encourage community across the arts.
Through experimenting with digital mediums, I have discovered the joys of drawing and painting directly onto Photoshop with an Intuous Wacom tablet. It is with this medium that I drew my submitted piece, ‘The Kiss’, which accompanies a short story written by Monique Michaud about a long lost romance. Unlike traditional pen and ink, which is less forgiving than ‘control, alt, delete’ on Photoshop, I was able to get messy and embrace those sometimes-desired mistakes. Though I am more familiar with traditional materials, I am continuously excited by the unlimited experimental possibilities of digital arts. Thanks again!”

–Lili Truemner Caron, 2019 Living Water Resorts Digital Arts Recipient

BMFA Juried Art Show Winner 2017

“Last spring, through the encouragement of my art teacher, I submitted two pieces to the BMFA Juried Art Show. As someone who prefers to stay in the shadows, particularly regarding my artwork, submitting my pieces took some courage. However, I do not have any regrets as I soon found out I had won first prize out of so many amazing works – an award given by professional jurors.
To me having my work accepted as part of the gallery was an accomplishment already, but winning an award and having my piece complimented and critiqued by professionals changed how I saw my own art and how I saw myself being successful in the art world. Without the experience of being part of the JAS as inspiration, I do not believe I would be continuing art as part of my university degree. The annual BMFA juried art shows are important to young and aspiring artists who need a push to believe in their art and usually themselves as well.”

–Jill de Rijke, 2017 Juried Art Show Recipient

Robert Kemp Award Winner 2018

“It is with pleasure and sincerity that I write in support of the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts.

The Shipyard Kitchen Party is a musical group dedicated to creating original Canadian music and musical theatre. We seek to tell Canadian stories, in new and inspiring ways.
The BMFA has been instrumental in allowing Shipyard Kitchen Party to create two original musical theatre productions to date: “100 Years from Now”, an original production based on the true story of Duntroon Nursing Sister, Mae Belle Sampson, the first woman to enlist in the Canadian Army Medical Corp; and “Tom Thomson’s Wake” an original musical telling the story of Tom Thomson’s life and death through three sometimes conflicting perspectives of the park guide, fellow artist and lover who knew Tom best.

By awarding Shipyard Kitchen Party its Robert G Kemp award in 2018, the BMFA allowed Shipyard Kitchen Party to mount and film a revised version of 100 Years from Now. The film resulted in SKP being selected to perform in the juried showcase at the Ontario Presents “Contact 2019” showcase before over 200 venue operators and artists. This opportunity, in turn, has resulted in tour dates for the show in 2020 and beyond.

This October, BMFA also sponsored the premiere of “Tom Thomson’s Wake” as part of its Fourth Annual Storytelling Festival. The sponsorship allowed SKP to cover production costs of the show, which debuted to three sold-out performances and rave reviews. “Tom Thomson’s Wake” is also now booking tour dates for 2020 in Huntsville and Owen Sound, based on the strength of its reception in Collingwood.

The benefits of the BMFA’s support of endeavors such as ours can be tracked in multiple ways. There is the obvious benefit of new “Live and Original” artistic content being created in Collingwood and building the town’s brand as a creative hub and arts destination. There is the traffic generated to surrounding businesses such as bars and restaurants by the approximately 700 showgoers who saw this year’s performances of the two shows in the Creative District. Finally, there is the financial benefit – BMFA’s financial support was put directly into paying local sound engineers (we hired Roger Robinson of CHS Productions to Engineer the show), film companies (Collingwood’s Mountain Goat Films was hired to do the video production), technical workers (lighting and av crew) and musicians and actors, all of whom are residents of the Collingwood area.

According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada and the Ontario Arts Council, arts and culture in Ontario directly contribute $25.0 billion annually to the provincial economy, representing 3.3% of Ontario’s GDP. There are over 286,000 culture jobs in Ontario or 3.9% of total Ontario employment. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, “arts, culture and heritage improve the ability of municipal governments to influence local economic development by attracting and retaining a skilled and talented workforce.” And we know that arts and culture tourism is among the most financially lucrative. Put simply, arts and culture tourists spend more and stay longer: the average Ontario arts/culture tourist spends twice as much per trip as a typical tourist and stays more than one night longer.

So when the town supports the BMFA, it is supporting the town itself – its businesses, its citizens, its creators, its technicians, all of whom are the lifeblood of this thriving modern community.

Of course, we are but one of many artists in South Georgian Bay who have benefited from the support of the BMFA. When one considers the dozens of individuals and groups assisted by BMFA; the dozens of other stories like ours made possible by this organization, the exponential benefit of supporting the BMFA is clear.

I encourage the council to support the BMFA in any way that it can and I would be happy to speak further to any of the points raised in this letter.”

–Jason Murphy, 2018 Shipyard Kitchen Party Recipient

Featured Young Artist Recipient 2019

“The Blue Mountain Foundation of the Arts has played a significant role in celebrating and elevating the artwork created by my Experiential Art Students at Pine River Institute, a Children’s Mental Health Centre for youth between the ages 13 – 19 struggling with addictive behavior and often other mental health issues.  Over the past few years, Susan Cook has invited our students to show in a specially designated, sponsored exhibition space for youth. This experience has given dozens of young people a boost in confidence and self-esteem as well as validating them as wonderful, creative individuals.
BMFA has supported my personal art-making as an exhibiting sculptor in their gallery.  Last year they provided me with the opportunity to share my public education teachings through a ‘Film and Conversation’ presentation at the Collingwood Public Library.  This was met with great interest and appreciation in the community.
Recently I have begun facilitating open studio art sessions at Home Horizons with the help of the BMFA. This is a new, meaningful partnership that is as much about building positive relationships with youth as it is about exploring visual arts and self-expression.”

–Ann Clifford, 2019 Featured Young Artist Award Recipient