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The Above & Beyond Awards for the Arts

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The Manitoba Foundation for the Arts was established in 1995 with the mandate to promote, support and advance the arts in the province by planning, coordinating and supporting the celebration and recognition of the arts in Manitoba through, among other activities, the Above & Beyond Awards for the Arts.

Every second year, the Manitoba Foundation for the Arts honours dedicated Manitoba individuals and organizations that go above and beyond their daily professions to use art in ways that enhance the communities they live in and the overall quality of life in Manitoba.


2012 Award Recipient

ART CITY - Urban Community Award ($5,000)
Sponsored By Investors Group

Over a decade ago, Wanda Koop, an internationally renowned artist and Member of the Order of Canada, saw a need for accessible arts programming in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood. In 1998, she founded Art City, one of the first organizations of its kind in Canada. Art City is a not-for-profit community art studio dedicated to providing people of all ages with innovative and professional arts programming free-of-charge. Art City’s primary goal is to provide space and tools for anyone who wishes to express him or herself creatively.



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2010 Award Recipients


RÉMI BOUCHARD – Artist Award ($5,000 to the artist; $5,000 to a project/charity of the artist’s choice)
Sponsored by The Great-West Life Assurance Company

Remi has taught piano, music theory and music history for almost fifty-five years in Neepawa. He has also had a distinguished career as a composer of music, with his work having been used all over the North American continent, as well as Europe and Asia. Many of his piano works have been performed, recorded, and featured on radio broadcasts. His music has been published in both Canada and the United States, and most recently with the Russell Publishing Company. Rémi is a long term member of the Canada Music Centre with many of his piano compositions published for the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Conservatory of Canada and the Canadian National Conservatory of Music. He has been actively involved during his teaching career in organizing the Neepawa Music festival, the Holiday Festival of the Arts, as well as being an active member of the Manitoba Music Teachers Association. Rémi continues to enrich the cultural life of his community through the organization of house concerts; playing music for older adults in his local senior’s complex, and the organizing of special community events.

DAN DONAHUE – Individual Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by Investors Group

Dan has been involved for over 25 years in the music industry as a performer, producer, composer and sound engineer. He is a 12 time JUNO Nominee for his album production, film and commercial scoring. He was awarded the PRIX award by the province of Manitoba for distinguished service to the arts in 1998. Dan has nurtured a generation of artists, providing mentorship and guidance. The significance of Dan Donahue’s work spanning nearly six decades is marked by his contributions to community organizations such as Manitoba Music, the Winnipeg Musicians Association, Manitoba Arts in Healthcare, and FACTOR National Advisory Board. Dan’s example shines brightest in his work with organizations like Winnipeg Harvest, where his humanitarian efforts are combined with the healing and inspiring impact of his music. Dan played an enormous role in creating a unique project, Empty Bowl Winter to raise awareness and much needed funds for Winnipeg Harvest this winter.

THE GIMLI ART CLUB – Community - Rural Award ($5,000)
The club’s beginnings date back to 1969 with only eight members who used a variety of buildings to practice their art. In 2009, the members and friends of the Gimli Art Club and Gallery celebrated their 40th Anniversary. The club, now with over 70 members, has always had big ideas. After a disastrous storm destroyed the harbour, a wall was built to safeguard against this happening again. Members recognized the potential of the wall to be developed into a special landscape feature for the town of Gimili.  The first Sea Wall paintings were erected in 1997. It was the wish of the artists involved that the display be enjoyed by all, without restriction, and that viewers would come to know and understand the varied history of the peoples of the area and the beauty of the changing landscape of the Eastern Interlake of Manitoba. Recently, more paintings have been added and older ones have been restored to their former glory. This unique tourist attraction has always been proudly supported by the people of Gimli. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Gimli Art Club in October 2009, a book was published, celebrating all of the paintings, past and present.

PLUG IN ICA – Community - Urban Award ($5,000)
The gallery is a laboratory for research and a nexus for the presentation of art that confronts ideas and issues affecting today’s society. The convergence of these strands will celebrate artworks and events in all media, as well as interdisciplinary projects spanning architecture, film, television, photography, sound, and new media. Plug-In ICA brings the best of contemporary art to Manitoba and shares Manitoba’s unique artistic voice with the world. This is accomplished through exhibitions, events, tours, conferences, lectures and online projects that marry research and analysis with innovation and experimentation.

RUTH WIWCHAR – Lee Cameron Arts In Education Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by The Richardson Foundation

Ruth has enjoyed a varied career as a music educator in the fields of Elementary Music education and Choral Music.  A graduate of Brandon University, Hamelin University (St. Paul, MN) and Memphis State University, Ruth has worked with students in kindergarten through grade twelve, and has been privileged to teach a variety of courses at the University of Manitoba for over twenty-five years. Ruth as Artistic Director of the Pembina Trails Voices currently has over three hundred and fifty children actively engaged as singers and performers. For over thirty-five years Ruth has led choirs to high standards of achievement. From youth choirs at Westworth United Church, to a four hundred voice choir at the opening ceremonies of the Pan-American Games, from boys choirs at St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, to ensembles at St. Avila school and to countless youth across Manitoba, Ruth has directed with joy and created magical moments, inspiring others to become and remain in the arts.  Ruth has been honoured by being recognized as “Most Outstanding Conductor” at the Young Prague Festival in 2006 and by receiving the inaugural “Morna-June Morrow Award for excellence in education in Manitoba”.

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2008 Award Recipients

RAY DIRKS – Artist Award ($5,000 to the artist; $5,000 to a project/charity of the artist’s choice)
Sponsored by The Great-West Life Assurance Company

Ray Dirks is an artist, curator, writer and photographer. Ray uses his art to facilitate the integration and inclusion of immigrant students into the milieu of high school. He offers art workshops in the Mennonite Heritage Gallery Centre, in schools and community centres. He gives multi-media presentations on many cross cultural, art and global issues topics, always making a local connection to make it real and relevant for a Manitoba audience. In 2006 he was nominated for the Winnipeg Arts Council “Making a Difference” Award. To quote a Grade 12 student from River East Collegiate “If we had more people like Mr. Dirks willing to get involved the world would be a better place.”
ARTBEAT STUDIO – Community - Urban Award ($5,000)
Founded in 2005, Artbeat Studio is a community-based arts studio that accommodates artists whose mental health, social connection and income make it impracticable for them, individually, to acquire a workspace where they can advance their artistic talents safely and securely. Artbeat offers people with mental illness the opportunity to regain a sense of purpose, pride and accomplishment in ways that cannot be provided by mental health services alone. The studio accommodates 10 artists at one time and participants are chosen based on their readiness, which includes demonstrating that they have a personal recovery plan as well as good interpersonal skills and commitment to art as a vocational pursuit.

VAGABOND THEATRE COMPANY – Community - Rural Award ($5,000)
Vagabond Theatre was founded in May 2004 in response to a need in the community for a group that would present and promote the performing arts. The theatre is run entirely by volunteers and has produced four community musicals and six non-musical adult comedies. Vagabond Theatre also offers a Master Class program that provides instruction and technical support to the Major Pratt High School Drama Club. Each summer the theatre hires professional instructors to run a drama camp for children and this past summer the camp hosted over 80 children from across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Vagabond Theatre provides local audiences with access to live theatre experiences that would not otherwise be available in the area.

MARC KULY – Lee Cameron Arts in Education Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by The James Richardson Foundation
Marc Kuly is a storyteller and teacher at Gorden Bell High School. Marc has created a collaborative, multi-grade teaching unit that explores human resiliency as evidenced by the personal stories of child soldiers and children affected by war. A number of his students are refugees from war affected parts of Africa and Marc is keenly insightful about the significance and possibilities for storytelling to build peace and community. Gorden Bell has 57 different cultural groups and through Marc’s work students have learned to listen, respect each other’s differences and build bonds of friendship that cross the traditional lines found in most contemporary schools. 

HANNIA TARASIUK – Individual Award ($5,000)
Hannia Tarasiuk is Chairperson and long-time member of the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. Under her leadership, Rusalka has performed and enjoyed lasting relationships with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Stratford Theatre, as well as individual artists such as Leo Mol, Danny Schur and Theodore Kuchar. Hannia encourages the Rusalka dancers to expand their horizons and to give something back to the community. As a result, the dancers have used their talents to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Winnipeg’s Millennium Library Foundation. Hannia has put her own career aspirations as a published writer on hold more than once to facilitate the completion of a community project that she deemed to be in greater need of her immediate attention.

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2006 Award Recipients

HEATHER BISHOP – Artist Award ($5,000 to the artist; $5,000 to a project/charity of the artist’s choice)
Sponsored by The Great-West Life Assurance Company
Heather Bishop is an artist who has dedicated her life to making a difference in the world. From fighting to save the environment and defending women’s rights, to struggling against racism and homophobia, she has never been afraid to stand up for what she believes. Ms Bishop is perhaps best known for her work as a musician. She performs to both children and adults and has garnered numerous awards including JUNO nominations and Parent’s Choice Gold Awards. She has recorded 13 albums, selling close to 200,000 world wide from her rural based recording company in southern Manitoba. Ms Bishop was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2005.

MAWA is a not-for-profit organization with the mandate to encourage and support the intellectual and creative development of women in the visual arts by providing an ongoing forum for education and critical dialogue. Each year through MAWA, experienced women artists work with those less experienced to impart information, encouragement and resources. The program has resulted in a strong and growing network of women who flourish in their own art practices and continue to give back to the organization in all areas. In 2005, MAWA’s Aboriginal and rural and remote initiative expanded their programming into areas where access had been an issue. MAWA celebrates over 20 years as a centre for the encouragement, support and development of women’s art practices.

STEINBACH ARTS COUNCIL (SAC) – Community - Rural Award ($5,000)
SAC was incorporated in 1979 to foster the development of arts and cultural activities in their community. Currently, over 500 people visit the Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre per week, from toddlers to seniors, taking advantage of the nearly 60 programs. Over the years the Centre has gained an audience of over 1100 who welcome the wide variety of concerts SAC brings to the community from all over the country, as well as many local performers. Visual artists exhibit at the Centre’s many juried arts shows, and book launches celebrating new published works of both past and present residents draw large crowds. The SAC encourages community members to participate in activities that build skills, inspire passionate involvement and develop lifelong interest in the arts.

TERÈSA J. LEE – Lee Cameron Arts in Education Award ($5,000)
Throughout her teaching career Ms Lee has involved her music students with community service through performances at Senior Citizen’s homes, hospitals, core area schools/communities and First Nations Reserves. Ms Lee initiated the “Schools of Harvest” which brought students in touch with the impact of poverty through volunteering at the food bank. She has been the impetus for countless provincial initiatives and has committed thousands of volunteer hours to the betterment of Music Education in our province. She spearheaded the Parent Power Conference, which was the spark that led to the implementation of the Jazz Curriculum for the Province of Manitoba (the first in Canada). In 2001 Ms Lee was the first Manitoban and the first woman recipient of Canada to receive the prestigious National Band Award.

ANN HANKS – Individual Award ($5,000)
Ann Hanks served as a member of the Board of Directors (including holding the office of President) for the Tiger Hills Arts Association (THAA), which provides artistic programs and services for over 20 small communities in southwestern Manitoba. She advocated for all residents to be exposed to excellence in the arts, and worked tirelessly to bring world-renowned performers into communities served by the THAA. Not only has Ms Hanks championed the arts at the local level, she also provided leadership at a provincial level, through the organization now known as the Manitoba Arts Network. Ms Hanks was always at the forefront of arts education and advocacy. A violinist herself, Ms Hanks makes her contribution to the arts in yet another way, as a performer. She volunteers in the Winnipeg Pop Orchestra, known for their community concerts in seniors home, public events and celebrations.

ArtsSmarts Award
In 2006, the Manitoba Foundation for the Arts was pleased to offer The ArtsSmarts Award. ArtsSmarts is a program of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, and is supported by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

LIBBY WEIR – ArtsSmarts Award ($2,500)
Libby Weir has brought the magic of the world of art to life for students, staff and teachers. She is an enthusiastic, hands-on teacher; and is passionate about her subject matter. Using a variety of mediums, she interacts with students, showing them methods to achieve results they were trying to attain, and encourages them to express their feelings about the world around them. Not only is Libby an artist, she makes everyone believe they are capable of attaining the same goal. Libby values and celebrates every student’s work and she encourages students to discover their own unique talents. Libby Weir is someone who truly does her job with unfailing passion.

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2004 Award Recipients

ANDRIS TASKANS – Artist Award ($5,000 to artist; 5,000 to a project/charity of artist’s choice)
Sponsored by The Great-West Life Assurance Company
Andris Taskans is the founding Editor of Prairie Fire magazine, one of Canada’s pre-eminent journals of contemporary writing. He is responsible for discovering dozens of new writers and for encouraging and advising scores of others. Prairie Fire has played a crucial role in the success of high-profile writers such as Carol Shields, Sandra Birdsell, David Bergen and Alissa York, many of whose works were first published in Prairie Fire. In addition, Mr. Taskans founded Prairie Fire’s Wordfest ten years ago, is a founding member of the Manitoba Writers Guild, helped start the Manitoba Magazine Publishers Association and also serves as vice-president of Artspace, Inc.

NIGEL BART – Artist Award (honourary) ($5,000)
Nigel Bart’s creations “Between the Lines,” and “Thinking in Spheres,” provided a venue for artists living with mental illness to display their work for Mental Illness Awareness Week and the Journey of Hope Walk for the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society. Mr. Bart’s own battle with schizophrenia inspired him to accept the lead role in “Starry Starry Night,” a play which toured schools, universities and institutions and followed the journey of a young man with schizophrenia. In October 2003 Mr. Bart wrote and performed in the video “Inside Out,” a powerful teaching tool used across the country to help eliminate the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

MARCELLINE MOODY – Arts in Education Award ($5,000)
Marcelline Moody has worked for years as a teacher of music, but she has contributed significantly to a much larger population through her work with teachers and students on behalf of major performing arts organizations, through her work as a composer, and her volunteer work with groups such as Literacy Partners of Manitoba. Ms Moody currently works in Manitoba schools on behalf of the WSO, the MCO, St. Norbert Arts Centre and the Alliance for Arts Education. Her students have performed at the National Orff Conferences, with the WSO and MCO and at countless community events.

URBAN SHAMAN GALLERY – Community Award ($5,000)
Since 1995, Urban Shaman Gallery’s mandate has been to present contemporary art by Aboriginal and Indigenous artists, curators and art producers. By focusing on the artistic expressions of Aboriginal and Indigenous people, Urban Shaman has provided them with both an exhibition space and a voice. The gallery’s relationship with schools and communities has fostered a mentorship approach that focuses strongly on communication while embracing and celebrating diversity. 

DAVE BARBER – Individual Award ($5,000)
Dave Barber has been the Programmer of the Cinematheque for 20 years. It is during those years the Cinematheque garnered an enviable reputation across Canada for consistently high-quality film programming and exhibition. To further enhance the art of film, Mr. Barber works closely with emerging and established non-commercial filmmakers, giving them a venue to exhibit their work. He believes strongly in giving a cinematic voice to those communities that may not otherwise be represented on the large screen in mainstream exhibition venues.

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Manitoba Foundation for the Arts
c/o Manitoba Arts Council
525-93 Lombard Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 3B1
(204) 945-2237 or 1-866-994-2787 (toll free in MB)

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