[Skip to Content]
Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
Grants Advanced Search
Grants Advanced Search


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

October 2, 2017

Ontario is celebrating the 18 finalists for the 2017 Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts.


The awards recognize the extraordinary achievements of the province's artists and arts organizations. The 2017 laureates will be announced at an award ceremony at Canada's National Ballet School on October 30 in Toronto.


This year's finalists are:



  • d'bi young anitafrika - Queensville, Theatre, Literature
  • IAIN BAXTER& - Windsor, Visual Arts
  • Charmaine Headley -Toronto, Dance
  • David Lickley - Sudbury, Media  Arts
  • Kent Monkman - Demorestville, Visual Arts
  • Claudia Moore - Toronto, Dance

Emerging Artist

  • Nicolas de Cosson - Windsor, Visual Arts, selected by IAIN BAXTER&
  • Emily Law - Toronto, Dance, selected by Claudia Moore
  • Ryan Mariotti - Sudbury, Media Arts, selected by David Lickley
  • Brian Rideout - Toronto, Visual Arts, selected by Kent Monkman
  • Shakeil Rollock - Toronto, Dance, selected by Charmaine Headley
  • Sashoya Simpson - Toronto, Theatre, selected by d'bi young anitafrika

Arts Organization

  • Debajehmujig Storytellers - Wikwemikong, Multidiscplinary Arts
  • Hillside Festival - Guelph, Music    
  • International Festival of Authors - Toronto, Literature
  • Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto  (LIFT) - Toronto, Media Arts
  • The Theatre Centre - Toronto, Theatre
  • Young People's Theatre - Toronto, Theatre

Celebrating the contributions of artists and arts organizations is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


Quick Facts

  • The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts program is administered by the Ontario Arts Council and recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts in Ontario.
  • Artist and Arts Organization finalists were selected by a jury comprised of individuals from the arts and culture communities. Each Emerging Artist finalist was selected by an Artist finalist.
  • The winning artist receives $35,000 and selects a new or emerging artist, who receives $15,000. The winning arts organization is awarded $50,000. The remaining finalists in both categories each receive $2,000.
  • The culture sector generates nearly $22 billion annually for Ontario’s economy and supports about 280,000 jobs.
  • Ontario has committed $50 million in additional funding to the Ontario Arts Council to be distributed over the next four years, increasing provincial funding to the OAC for arts programs province-wide to $80 million annually by 2020-21.
  • Nominations for the 2018 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts opens today and runs to December 5, 2017. Any Ontarian may submit a nomination.

Background Information


Additional Resources



“Congratulations to this year’s nominees for their excellence in the arts and their meaningful contribution to society. We know the arts enrich our lives and contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities, which is why these awards are so important and why we are committed to supporting and strengthening this valuable sector.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario


“It is my privilege to congratulate this year’s finalists for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. These artists and art organizations exemplify why our government remains so committed to supporting arts programs and activities across the province. Their works live in our theatres, galleries and public spaces, bringing people in Ontario together and enriching our communities.”

Eleanor McMahon

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport


“When people take the time to nominate a professional artist or arts organization for this important award, they are in fact recognizing the tremendous contributions that these artists or groups make to their communities and to their art form. The government’s recent funding increase to OAC is an acknowledgement that our arts community is vitally important to us, our economy, and our society’s well-being.”

Rita Davies

Chair of the Ontario Arts Council