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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Finalists Announced for Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts

September 6, 2016

Twelve finalists have been announced for the Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts.


The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of Ontario's arts community and its contributions to a strong, vibrant culture sector. Now in its 10th year, the program recognizes artists and arts organizations whose contributions span a significant period of time.

This year's finalists are:

Artist Award

  • Christi Belcourt – Espanola, Visual Arts
  • David Buchbinder – Toronto, Music
  • George Elliott Clarke – Toronto, Literature
  • Dwayne Morgan – Toronto, Literature
  • Lata Pada – Mississauga, Dance
  • Larry Towell – Bothwell, Media Arts

Arts Organization Award

  • A Different Booklist – Toronto, Literature
  • Dusk Dances – Toronto, Dance
  • Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography – Toronto, Visual Arts
  • International Festival of Authors – Toronto, Literature
  • Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto – Toronto, Media Arts
  • Mouvement d'implication francophone d'Orléans – Ottawa, Multidisciplinary

Finalists were selected by a jury of experts across arts and culture disciplines. The winners will be announced on October 5 during a reception at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.


Fostering the arts and culture is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.


Quick Facts

  • The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts are administered by the Ontario Arts Council and recognize exceptional achievement in professional arts disciplines. These can include dance, music, opera, theatre, visual and media arts, literature and cultural industries (such as book and magazine publishing, digital media, film, television and sound recording), among others.
  • The winning artist receives $35,000 and selects an emerging artist to receive $15,000. The winning arts organization is awarded $50,000. The remaining finalists each receive $2,000.
  • Nominations for the 2017 awards are being accepted until December 1, 2016. All Ontarians are invited to submit a nomination.
  • The culture sector adds more than $25 billion to Ontario’s economy each year and generates about 280,000 jobs.
  • In July, the province launched its first Culture Strategy, to promote participation in arts and culture, build on the sector's economic impact and help Ontarians tell their stories and express themselves.

Additional Resources



“Congratulations to the 2016 finalists for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Ontario’s artists and arts organizations have a positive impact on so many lives. It is my privilege to recognize their contributions to our well-being and to our strong economy.”
Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario

“The arts are a powerful means of personal expression — and they can also build stronger, more cohesive communities, inspire social change and contribute to the richness of life in our province. There is a wealth of artistic talent across Ontario, and I am delighted these awards provide well-deserved recognition. This year’s finalists can be proud of all they have accomplished.”
Eleanor McMahon
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

"In 2016, we mark ten years of celebrating Ontario’s extraordinary arts community through the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. The partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Ontario Arts Council has honoured many outstanding artists and organizations, and this year’s finalists are dynamic additions to that list. Our sincere thanks to all of this year’s nominees, whose work has such a powerful impact on our communities.”
Rita Davies
Chair, Ontario Arts Council