Culture Counts Awards recognize Oshawa talent

Ron Lambert, a Culture Counts awards winner, stands in front of his exhibit,Tribute 2016, which he painted to celebrate the summer of ’47 with his friends in Provincetown, Mass.

All talented artists deserve to have their efforts recognized. The City of Oshawa’s Culture Counts Awards is shining light on the original creativity in the city and celebrating artists endeavours.

Culture Counts is Oshawa’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Plan, focused on strengthening Oshawa’s cultural identity. Prior to 2014, the city didn’t have a strategy for cultural development.

The awards were launched in 2018 to recognize visual artists, musicians, creative organizations and actors.

“What is exciting about the awards is the recognition piece of how fantastic the community is,” says Catherine Richards, manager of Culture and Recreation Services.

“I always say to folks that we’re so lucky in Oshawa because we have such an amazing collection of visual artists, musicians, actors, creative entrepreneurs and really strong organizations.

“Whether it’s our historic sites, or the art gallery or grassroots organizations. They’re just really putting together amazing activations and opportunities for residents to enjoy. The awards focuses on what is truly and really amazing in the community.”

There are three categories this year:

• Professional Artist Award – those established in their career

• Emerging Artist Award – at the beginning of their career, but already demonstrating innovative and strong talent in their field

• Innovation and Creation Champion Award – for individuals or organizations that have exceeded expectations and has done something that is truly unique or is an example of excellence that could meet provincial or national award level.

Each category has its own criteria for what it looks for in a winner. Nominees will have to showcase artistic merits, such as critical acknowledgement of work (art exhibits, performed in a show).

The selection of award winners consist of a vetting and jurying process. It is reviewed by four members of the Oshawa Cultural Leadership Council with Culture Counts staff, says Richards.

Richards says there should be a quick turnaround with the results. Winners will be announced at the Feb. 19 Oshawa City Council meeting and will receive a certificate of acknowledgement from council and a $200 honorarium.

A celebration of the artists will be held at the March 1 RMG Fridays event at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG).

The 2018 winners were Ronald Lambert, Crown Lands, Mary Krohnert and the LivingRoom Community Art Studio.