The Mayor’s Awards for the Arts committee is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s awards, which were presented at the 11th Annual Mayor’s Gala for the Arts on Saturday, January 20.

Business in Support of the Arts, which recognizes outstanding Kamloops business leaders and/or businesses/corporations that have made a significant contribution supporting local arts and culture through donations, sponsorships, volunteer services, or the support of a Kamloops artist, was awarded to the Royal Bank of Canada. The RBC Foundation has held support of the arts as a long-standing priority, as they recognize that the arts play an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies. The RBC Emerging Artists Project helps artists bridge the gap from emerging to established, and supports organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance their career trajectory. RBC supports arts organizations and artists in a range of genres including visual art, music, theatre, performance, literature and film.

Emerging Artist, which recognizes an emerging Kamloops artist aged 18-35 working in the visual and/or performing arts for their current accomplishments and future potential, was awarded to Andrew G. Cooper. Andrew received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Thompson Rivers University and is the founding Artistic Managing Director of Chimera Theatre. He’s won two awards for Outstanding Choreography in Musical Theatre for his work with the Academy of Dance and The Untold Tales of the Brothers Grimm, written and directed by Andrew, was nominated for Best New Play and Best Comedy at the Victoria Fringe Festival. His play, The Grind, recently received first place at Theatre New Vintage’s playwriting competition.

Artist of the Year recognizes an outstanding Kamloops artist in a different artistic medium each year, and this year the category was Visual Arts. Artist of the Year: Visual Arts was awarded to Donald Lawrence. A professor in Visual Arts at Thompson Rivers University, Lawrence holds a BFA from the University of Victoria and an MFA from York University. In artworks exhibited nationally and internationally his eclectic mixing of drawing, photography, sculpture and optics explores interests in early imaging technologies and the meeting place of urban and wilderness culture. Lawrence currently leads The Camera Obscura Project, a multi-year program of research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council that has seen an international group of artists and scholars, including TRU students, involved in projects in Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.

The Mayor's Gala for the Arts is a collaborative partnership that brings together the City of Kamloops, Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops Symphony, and Western Canada Theatre, to recognize and celebrate the arts and culture sector of Kamloops.